Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis has described todays all-party decision by the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) to continue to develop its plans to introduce a Bus Quality Contracts Scheme as good news for the countys bus users.
Todays decision, which has cross-party support in West Yorkshire, also has support from bus passengers themselves, as our own consultations and media polling have shown," he said. "Everyone involved in transport locally realises that we need to do something to make bus travel more attractive and address falling patronage, and that with the taxpayers meeting half the total cost of bus services, there needs to be more accountability.
"Although the ITA welcomed the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshires offer of enhanced partnership, the proposals currently fall short in the key areas Metro believes there needs to be change - particularly in providing a seamless, common integrated ticketing option without the confusion caused by the current mix of passes that can only be used on one operators services or premium-priced multi-operator passes.
"Metro will continue discussions with the bus operators and listen to their suggestions as well as consulting with other partners as it prepares a draft Public Interest Statement, continued Cllr Lewis. .
"Future Authority approval of the Public Interest Statement would then lead to a full public consultation exercise towards the end of the year and submission to the Quality Contract Scheme Board."
I would also like to stress that the Authoritys ambition is to work with operators and District Councils in making local bus services into a growing, not declining, market which would benefit everyone as well as protecting jobs.