Calls for Leeds Bus Services to be Back Under Public Control

Leeds City Councillor, Judith Blake (Lab), has called for Leeds buses to be brought back into public ownership. The calls come for the services to be renationalised after statistics emerged estimating that Leeds buses have lost over 1 million passengers since their privatisation in the 1980’s. 

Both First Bus and Arriva were put up for sale by their respective parent companies, following months of issues and delays to services around Leeds. Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority board have promised to explore the possibility of acquiring ‘First’ and bringing it back under public ownership. This is with the hope that it would represent a great win for the people – and the economy – of the city of Leeds. Issues with the current bus service for many of the public includes the ever-rising prices of the tickets. 

Conservative Councillor Andrew Carter, in a members session in which Councillor Blake was pressed on the issue, asked for there to be correspondence between Leeds Council and either First or Arriva Bus Companies released into the public domain. 

Councillor Blake responded that there had been agreements in place since 2016 with First and Arriva:

“These agreements were made with bus companies to improve bus transport for any bus companies in the city of Leeds.”

Councillor Blake then went onto to give assurances that whatever was going to happen to the bus company, be it acquired privately or brought back into public control, there would be guarantees of serious investment into public transport. 

Many argue that the lack of investment from either First or Arriva has brought Leeds into a situation where its public transport networks have caused a decline in usage. The same Arriva company runs an undeniably fantastic bus services in London, under contract from TfL and therefore a similar pledge of investment, from whoever plans to take over Leeds’ bus services, would go a long way to improving the livelihoods of many within the city. 

Image: West Leeds Dispatch