Metro 'wants to control West Yorkshire buses'
The passenger transport authority in West Yorkshire has decided it wants to take control of bus services across the county.
The authority, Metro, wants to take responsibility for setting routes, fares, timetables and quality standards.
It would mean different companies could not compete for passengers along profitable routes.
Bus operators Arriva and First are opposing the plans.
The plan will go to a public consultation before it is then considered by a Quality Contract Sheme Board - an independent board that will "provide an opinion" on the merit of the plan.'Confusing' passes
The Quality Bus Contract (QBC) scheme was introduced in the Transport Act in 2000.
It allows local authorities to specify what the local bus network should be and how it should be operated. Under the legislation bus routes and fares can be regulated.
In a statement, Metro said it considered the move "in the best interests of commuters".
Metro chairman Councillor James Lewis said: "Although the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority [ITA] welcomed the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire's offer of enhanced partnership, the proposals currently fall short in the key areas Metro believes there needs to be change.
"Particularly in providing a seamless, common integrated ticketing option without the confusion caused by the current mix of passes that can only be used on one operator's services or premium-priced multi-operator passes."Oyster cards
Bus operators across the county said they were dismayed the ITA had "rejected partnership plans which would have transformed local bus services across the region".
Their plans included commitments on the introduction of "Oyster" style Smartcard ticketing, investment in new passenger friendly buses, fewer changes to services and demanding targets to improve reliability and punctuality.
Speaking on behalf of the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire, chairman Keith McNally, said: "The ITA had been very complimentary about these plans and we believe they have the support of passengers.
"The plans are the result of long and detailed discussion with the ITA and we are very surprised that they have now turned their back on them and decided instead to 'go it alone' rather than work in partnership".