What is the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)?

    Our BSIP sets out the ambitions to deliver the Government’s National Bus Strategy. It is a document that has been developed in collaboration with bus operators and takes account of views expressed by West Yorkshire residents and local interest groups on how we can improve our bus services, and the interventions we need to implement to achieve this 

    What have we already done?

    In 2016 the Combined Authority asked for your opinion to help create the West Yorkshire Bus Strategy 2040 which set out our long-term ambitious vision to the region's bus system.

    Following this, in 2021 we published the West Yorkshire Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) which responded to the Government’s ‘Bus Back Better: National Bus Strategy for England’ and set out proposals detailing initiatives and interventions that we think we could make local buses better for everyone.

    We also recently agreed an Enhanced Partnership to strengthen our relationship with bus operators and help them to create a better bus service which caters to the needs of our local communities.

    How the Combined Authority works with bus operators

    As the Combined Authority do not own or run any bus services, we are limited in some of the changes we can make. But we have worked in partnership with local bus operators through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance to make positive bus changes in West Yorkshire.

    The Combined Authority and bus operators have different responsibilities around bus services in West Yorkshire.

    Our responsibilities:

    • We pay bus companies to run around 15% of the county’s bus services. These services are usually the routes that are important to the people in that community but don’t make much money for the bus operators.
    • We own the Metro brand, which is the transport brand in West Yorkshire and provides travel information and other customer support service through MetroLine, our website and via social media
    • Metro is also responsible for 10,000 bus stops and 4,000 bus shelters, most with timetables and some with real-time units.

    Bus Providers responsibilities:

    • To decide on the majority of routes
    • To decide bus timetables
    • To set the bus fares
    • To inform us of any changes so that we can collate them and tell passengers

    What are the aims of the BSIP?

    Through the BSIP we hope to achieve our vision for: an enhanced and more cohesive bus network; clear and simple fares; improved and more inclusive customer service and support; priority for buses on our roads and more green and better vehicles. To find out more please visit: Bus Service Improvement plan information.

    What difference will my participation make?

    By having your say and sharing your views we will be able to ensure that the priorities you have for transport in West Yorkshire are reflected in our BSIP strategy, shaping the future of bus improvement in the region. The BSIP is a living document, and your responses will help our reporting against key performance indicators to better understand the impact of our proposals. 

    Why are you doing this engagement during bus strikes?

    We had already scheduled this engagement to be made live at this time as part of our BSIP commitments. The bus strikes have highlighted the importance of having an improved bus service that works for local people 

    When will we find out the results?

    After the engagement period closes on 11th September, responses will be collated and analysed into a report, with feedback reflected on in our next BSIP review period in October.  

    Will you keep me updated on progress?

    You can follow any updates on –The Your Voice Bus Hub (include link once live) and we are in the process of establishing a Bus Futures Group that will allow you to continually be in conversation with us on your thoughts and concerns regarding bus services in West Yorkshire. 

    As a result of the Bus Service Improvement Plan, will there be any new bus routes added?

    New routes and services are one of the aspects being considered as part of the delivery of the BSIP. Please let us know if you have any specific improvements to routes or new services that you’d like to see as part of this consultation. 

    Is there a plan to bring buses back under public control?

    We are reviewing how buses are managed. This is to understand how it can improve the service for passengers and the wider population. Therefore, we have entered an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with local bus operators. An Enhanced Partnership is a legal arrangement which gives us greater influence over the way services are run.  

    We will also be assessing ‘Franchising’. Franchising is an alternative arrangement where the current private-led system would be suspended and the Authority would pay operators to run services according to our own plans. This presents significant costs, risks but also opportunities.  

    Further public consultation on the way the bus system is managed is planned for 2023