West Yorkshire’s Labour MPs have sent a letter to FirstGroup in an audacious bid to bring the local bus service into public ownership.
FirstGroup announced earlier this year that they would be selling First Bus and in a letter spearheaded by Alex Sobel, the MPs have made a case for the West Yorkshire division to be sold separately and the first option be given to the combined authority.
Alex Sobel said “This is the start of what could be a very significant win for our constituents. We need FirstGroup first to agree to sell the West Yorkshire division separately and to give WYCA the First option to buy.
Our focus then will be to make sure WYCA gets the funding that it needs and there are several potential avenues for this. The standard of our Bus service is not of the quality that it needs to be to ensure reliability for our constituents and to encourage wide scale usage. If we are successful in this campaign, we can finally provide our constituents with oversight of their service, putting the people in the driving seat.”
Judith Blake leader of Leeds City Council said, “I am pleased that the West Yorkshire MPs share our desire to explore ownership of our bus service and hope that First Group seriously consider these calls. This presents us with an opportunity to engage in the process of the sale of First Bus. We are still at an early stage but thank the MPs for opening up a potential dialogue with FirstGroup.”
Alex Sobel has also today tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament echoing these calls.
This comes after a meeting at WYCA where council leaders discussed the possibility of a purchase being made.