West Yorkshire Mayor Ends Term With Bus Reform Decision

The final Combined Authority meeting of West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin‘s term in office will today see a raft of decisions and investment made to create a region that works for all. 

This will include the long-awaited decision on whether to take the region’s bus services back under public control. This could see a deeper partnership between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and private bus operators, or the re-introduction of public control over routes, fares, frequencies, and the overall standard of services through a process known as franchising.

The bus reform moment is the culmination of a three-year-long process that was first put in place by the Mayor after her election in May 2021, to investigate the case for changing how buses are run across Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and Wakefield.

The decision will be made later this morning during the final Combined Authority meeting of her mayoral term, and follows a statutory process set out by central government in 2017, which includes an assessment, a public consultation, and a final decision by the elected regional Mayor.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire:

“In 2021, I was elected on a plan to improve bus services, build affordable homes, create green jobs, support businesses and protect women and girls. Whilst we’ve been able to deliver on all of these pledges, the decisions being taken today will have a transformative impact on the economy and society of West Yorkshire for generations to come. I’d like to thank all of our partners and the people of West Yorkshire for the trust and confidence they’ve put in me to deliver for our region over the past three years.”

Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor

Following Mayor Brabin’s decision on reforming the region’s bus services, regional leaders will discuss and are expected to approve funding for several other high-profile interventions, including:

  • Tram lines running between Leeds and Bradford, as part of wider plans for a so-called mass transit system for West Yorkshire. Known to be the largest city in Western Europe without a light rail or metro-style system, the trams will be a historic first for Leeds and the wider region, with proposals under way to get spades in the ground by 2028 and deliver a better-connected region.
  • The West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Tech Investment Zone, which is set to receive an initial £80 million in partnership with central government. The funding will help businesses, universities and hospitals to deliver thousands of new jobs and drive forward the development of lifechanging technologies, for patients in the NHS and world-wide.
  • A £1.7 million package to insulate 100 Victorian terraces in Armley, Leeds. This latest investment follows news that around 3,000 rented council and social homes have benefitted from green measures to save people money in a cost of living crisis, as part of Mayor Brabin’s drive for greener homes.
  • A new long-term rail strategy for the region, which sets out proposals to deliver extra capacity, better reliability, and improved frequency. Regional leaders are expected to call for additional government investment in public transport infrastructure, to put West Yorkshire and the North of England on a par with London and the Southeast. They will also demand that safeguarded HS2 land around the congested Leeds station is protected to enable a much-needed expansion of the station, and that promises are kept around funding for a new rail station in Bradford.
  • Over £5 million to support Bradford City of Culture 2025 – a landmark year of cultural events, festivals and celebrations, to showcase the vibrant communities of Bradford to the world. The funding follows Mayor Brabin’s pledge to deliver a “Creative New Deal” for West Yorkshire, and is expected to boost jobs, skills, tourism and the wider economy.

    Main image: West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin with supporters at the launch of the Walk It Ride It Campaign.

Do you have a story to tell?
We want to hear your stories and help you share them.