I received the following information in relation to changes to transport to Prince Henry’s Grammar School from September. On Friday Caroline and I had a briefing from a representative of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and in addition to services below they are introducing a new service called PH5 which will serve Kings Road, Bramhope and go to Prince Henry via Leeds Road in Bramhope as they have realised a further bus is needed.

The letters to all parents will be issued this week or next week.

  • “You will probably be aware that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority organises a range of contracted school bus services for young people who attend Prince Henry Grammar School.  

These services are jointly subsidised by the Combined Authority and Leeds City Council and are supplemented by bus operator First’s Service X84, which is operated on a commercial basis (i.e. not contracted or directly subsidised by the Combined Authority or Council).  

Bus operators Connexions and CT Plus, both of which currently provide services for the school, have recently registered a network of commercial services serving Adel, Arthington, Bramhope, Holt Park, Pool and Tinshill, from September.  

In line with national legislation, when these services start the Combined Authority will be legally obliged to withdraw any contracted services so as to ensure that local authority subsidies are not used to undermine the commercial network.  

Consequently, the existing combination of Mybus and contracted double deck services serving Prince Henry Grammar School will be withdrawn and replaced by the following:

  • PH1 Arthington via Pool (CT Plus);
  • PH2 Weetwood Police Station via Bramhope and Pool (CT Plus);
  • PH3 Weetwood Police Station via Tinshill, Holt Park and Bramhope (Connexions);
  • PH4 Adel via Holt Park (Connexions)
  • There will no change to Service X84 (First). 

In the case of Services PH3 and PH4, there will also be a change to the range of tickets available.  

Connexions has specified that Metro MyDay (£2.60) and Under 19 weekly (£10) / monthly tickets (£37) will not be accepted on these services. 

Instead, the following range of Connexions’ own on-bus and mobile tickets will be available: 

  • Single £1.50 (Comparable with X84)
  • Return £2.70
  • Monthly £50 (Mobile only)
  • Termly £180 (Mobile only)
  • Annual £500 (Mobile only)

 To ensure that buses are not overcrowded, the Combined Authority currently manages the allocation process and issues Priority PhotoCards to fare payers and zero fare Boarding Passes to pupils eligible for free travel under Leeds City Council’s policy.  

This will no longer be possible on the section of the A660 between Weetwood Police and Otley where the operators are operating in direct competition, which means that families living in and around Bramhope will have a choice of services but that the bus their child uses may vary on a daily basis depending on which service has places available.      

Priority PhotoCards will, however, be issued to students who have only one service option and these will be used to prioritise boarding at the end of the school day.   

Similarly, once Priority PhotoCard holders have boarded, it will be necessary to prioritise the remaining passengers on the basis of the ticket they hold. This is to ensure that those, for example, who hold a Connexions ticket are able to board services PH3 or PH4.   

The support of staff at the school be will key to making this work successfully.  

Clearly, however, it is not possible to manage this on a morning and there is a risk, therefore, that families on common sections of route could, in effect, pay twice for their journeys to school. 

The Combined Authority is already in discussions with the school about the change to arrangements and we will be sending letters to parents on Friday 13 July 2018. 

Services will be closely monitored in September to ensure that they are meeting students’ needs.

  1. Since receiving the above information we have now been sent the following update from the chair of the Transport committee of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority:

“I am pleased to be able to inform you that, following discussions with the owner of Harrogate Coach Travel (Connexions), it has been agreed that the operator will accept all Metro products. Some of the logistical issues will remain, but I am confident that practical solutions to these can be found by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Education Transport team in co-operation with the operators and the school.”

  1. We also received the following update in relation to bus fares for students:

“I write to inform you that, from Monday 3 September 2018, there will be an inflation-linked fares increase on school bus services contracted by the Combined Authority, including Mybus (yellow bus) services.     

Fares on Mybus services have not increased since September 2015 and are currently lower than fares on other contracted school bus services.   

The increase will close the gap between the fares on the two types of contracted school bus services and bring school bus fares closer into line with fares charged on the public transport network. 

On the majority of services, a flat single fare is charged (regardless of distance travelled). From 3 September, the changes will be as follows:   

Service type Current fare Fare from 3/9/18
Secondary School Mybus                                £1.10 £1.25
Secondary School Non-Mybus                         £1.20 £1.25
Mybus primary 70p (£5.50 weekly ticket for 10 journeys)  80p (£6.00 weekly ticket for 10 journeys)     

 On a small number of secondary school services, graduated fares are still charged (fare varies by distance travelled) and they currently vary between 70p and £1.50 per trip. With the exception of the £1.50 fare, these will increase by between 5p and 10p depending on the level of the current fare. The £1.50 fare will not increase. 

Money-saving Myday (£2.60) and Under 19 weekly (£10) and monthly (£37) MCard tickets, which can be used on all West Yorkshire bus services, are also available on these services. 

We will be writing to schools and parents to notify them of the fares increases later this week and will, at the same time, be promoting these MCard products.”