Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Yorkshire bus passengers feel the pain

20 June 2022

Bus passengers are feeling the pain as Arriva bus drivers in Yorkshire enter their third week of industrial action. While rail strikes may dominate the headlines the impact on bus passengers across the region – with almost all Arriva Yorkshire services cancelled – is significant.  

Passengers will be keen to see the parties involved get together to find a resolution quickly and get their buses running again. 

When services are disrupted passengers need to know exactly which buses are operating and what, if any, their alternatives are. West Yorkshire Metro’s website leads the way with a red banner plastered across the home page and lots of detail. Not so good over on the Arriva website; scroll down past the information on visiting ‘popular places’ or exploring ‘fascinating towns, cities, sights and scenery with Arriva Bus’ (if only!) before you’ll find it.  Arriva tells us customers haven’t complained but we are still pushing for it to provide clearer information. 

Positive news that pre-paid Arriva tickets will be accepted on First and Transdev buses for the duration. Cold comfort though if you can’t make your essential journey to work, education or other vital appointments. Our research shows that older and disabled people often depend on bus to get around the local area and that around half of regular bus users don’t have easy access to any other mode of transport for their journeys. Any additional transport costs for taxis or trains will be particularly unwelcome at a time when household budgets are already feeling the squeeze. 

What’s the long-term outlook? Bus passenger numbers have returned to about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Bus operators desperately need to tempt former passengers back, attract new ones and generally get people making more journeys by bus. Offering reliable bus services that go to the places people want, at the times they want, is key to building confidence.  

These strikes in Yorkshire are not the first rumblings of discontent from bus drivers this year and likely not the last. Let’s hope that industrial action doesn’t steer the bus industry’s recovery off course.  

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