January 11th, 2023
Written by John Grogan and Anna Dixon
John Grogan Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Keighley and Ilkley and Anna Dixon Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Shipley have warned that there could be big bus cuts in the Spring across Bradford if the Government fails to renew grant funding due to run out by the end of March.
In a joint statement they said:
“The Government announced on August 16th 2022 that they would be extending the ‘bus recovery grant ‘to West Yorkshire Combined Authority to fund bus services for the period October 1st to March 31st. This was a financial lifeline for bus operators to keep services running after the pandemic
“Shortly before the Government made their announcement First Bus registered with the Transport Commissioners their intention to cancel the X84 service to Ilkley and Burley in Wharfedale all together. The starting point of the service into Leeds would instead have been Otley. It was only after the extra money was made available that they withdrew their proposal. This is just one example of a service that could be under threat once more.
“We are now approaching the cliff edge again and local services are once more under threat. By the 17th of February the Government has to notify the West Yorkshire Mayor about the level of subsidy going forward to enable bus operators to make changes before April 1st and give the necessary legal notice to passengers.
“We urge Transport Secretary Mark Harper to maintain vital support for bus services for another six months. Bus patronage has recovered more quickly in West Yorkshire than other areas reaching 85% of pre pandemic levels and 100% amongst young people. However, this recovery will be put under threat if the Government withdraws funding prematurely. The solution in the medium term has to be to grant the West Yorkshire Mayor the same powers to regulate fares, routes and frequencies as the Mayor of London has”