West Yorkshire Combined Authority is considering entering the fray for the sale of First West Yorkshire with a decision to enable officers to spend up to £200,000 on legal and consultancy support as it explores options to participate in the sale process.
The authority points to the key role that First currently plays in the region, responsible for carrying 70 per cent of passengers from a total of more than 140 million journeys on buses every year in West Yorkshire. It believes that the sale process for First West Yorkshire will be an open one, and wants to look at the possibility of investing “to
secure the continuity and growth of bus services in West Yorkshire”.
Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee, says: “Buses are already crucial to West Yorkshire communities, providing essential connections for people to access work, education and services and we need to significantly increase passenger numbers if we are to cut congestion and tackle the climate emergency while growing the economy.
“Through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance we are working in partnership with operators to encourage more people to take the bus through improved reliability, information, ticketing and better vehicles.
“However, given the importance of buses to our communities now and into the future, it is vital we consider all the opportunities and risks presented by the sale of First West Yorkshire. The government’s renewed interest in the role of bus services may also present further opportunities to ensure our communities are better served. The expert advice we are seeking will support both these objectives.”