Bus 18 plan to transform West Yorkshire bus services24-03-2017
West Yorkshire bus services that are more reliable, easier to use, customer focused and better for the environment are the key aims of the Bus 18 initiative launched today (Friday 24 March).
Brought together by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), Bus 18 sees the county's major bus operators Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Transdev, and the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire (ABOWY) working together to improve bus services and encourage more people to use them.
At today's launch a number of pledges designed to achieve this were announced.
To make buses easier to use, the number of service changes will be reduced, the issues affecting punctuality on five key routes addressed and passenger information improved, including during disruptions.
Signing up to the ECOStars scheme, which provides recognition, guidance and advice on operational best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses, coaches and commercial vehicle fleets will help reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions on local roads.
Free travel voucher
And, to mark the Bus 18 commitment to better customer satisfaction from today, Friday 24th of March any passengers not happy with their bus journey will be able to claim a free travel voucher from either; First West Yorkshire, Arriva Yorkshire or Transdev.
From Friday 24 March 2017 customers can also call a taxi, save the receipt and claim the cost back from either First, Arriva or Transdev, if their last bus doesn't arrive within 20 minutes of the scheduled time.
Committed to improvements
At today's launch, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority is committed to developing a modern, integrated transport network that underpins economic growth, investment and job creation and with almost 180 million journeys made on them in West Yorkshire every year, buses are and will remain a vital element of that network.
“However last year's countywide consultation and the recent Big Transport Consultation in Leeds showed that people had a number of concerns about local buses, including their punctuality and reliability, levels of customer care, changes to routes and timetables, value-for-money and ticketing.
“I am pleased to see commitments to overcome these issues, combating the costs of congestion on our local economy and improving local air quality being made through Bus 18.”
Paul Matthews, Managing Director at First West Yorkshire, said: “It is our responsibility to reduce emissions on the roads of West Yorkshire and I'm pleased to announce on behalf of the three major bus operators, that we have pledged to introduce more environmentally friendly buses with less emissions to improve air quality by the end of next year.”
Enabling economic growth
Alex Hornby, Chief Executive Officer at Transdev said: “Transdev is exceptionally proud of its track record of working alongside others to improve bus services in West Yorkshire and beyond, and we continue this approach with the ambitious and deliverable Bus 18 programme.
“This is a fresh opportunity for us and our fellow operators to improve the local bus system with a range of important and effective quick wins, which will make bus travel better for the people of West Yorkshire, and should enable further growth in our local economy.”
Improving network reliability
Jon Croxford, Area Managing Director for Arriva Yorkshire said: “We are delighted to be part of the Bus 18 partnership. As a bus industry in West Yorkshire, we are committed to making buses easier to use for existing and potential users. Bus 18 will achieve this by delivering a more reliable and stable network, providing improved passenger information and enhancing the range of ticketing options.”
As well as the pledges for the future, Bus 18's members also highlighted some of their achievements so far at today's launch.
The number of services changes for 2017 has already been reduced and people will be consulted before any major changes take place. A number of new tickets including a Day Saver and Pay As You Go, which can be used on MCard, which is among the largest travel smartcard schemes outside London.
Information about services and disruption is also being made easier for people to find. First West Yorkshire, Transdev, Arriva Yorkshire and the Combined Authority's websites deliver nearly 8.7m page views every month and 750,000 timetables per month are downloaded from the Metro travel information website (opens in new tab). Bus 18's members also have a combination of over 53,000 Twitter followers and over 31,000 Facebook followers.
Bus 18 will continue to build on these pledges and deliver further improvements over the next 18 months.
Watch the video from the Bus 18 launch event on YouTube.