TRANSDEV – which runs Keighley Bus Company – is urging people to have their say as it plans for growth beyond the pandemic.

The firm has produced a blueprint – Build Buses Back Better – and is inviting customers and business and political leaders to provide input.

Copies of the 28-page document are being mailed directly to more than 200 key decision-makers and business bosses across the region served by Transdev.

The company’s chief executive officer, Alex Hornby, said: “2020 has been the year of Covid-19, which has produced unprecedented challenges for all bus operators.

“I’m proud to say we continue to battle through, thanks to the support of our amazing customers and colleagues. But as we approach 2021 with a real prospect of an end to the current restrictions, it’s time to turn our eyes to the future and the opportunities ahead.

“The Prime Minister’s New Deal sets out to ‘Build Back Better’ – and we want to build buses back better too, using our track record of success in the north and Transdev’s worldwide expertise in buses, trams and light rail. But nationally there’s an inconsistent picture, with pockets of growth and limited investment to cut pollution and congestion.

“As a pioneer in our industry using new technology to provide low and zero-emission buses, we believe 2021 can be a year of unique opportunities for the bus. Now is the time to start a conversation on how we make the most of it.”

Suggestions in the Build Buses Back Better plan include more priority measures to make the bus the most reliable option for urban travel, more zero and low-emission zones and the introduction of a national minimum customer service standard for bus services.

“We advocate a minimum standard which would give customers guarantees on what to expect and drive-up standards across the country,” said Mr Hornby.

“Also, national bus driver training schemes should refocus on the customer – while Government grant aid to bus firms should incentivise companies that attract more customers. If just one per cent of car journeys switched to bus travel after the pandemic, bus journeys would rise by 19 per cent."

The company also highlights its VAMOOZ buses, serving schools and employers, as an example of “how fully-commercial bus routes and those delivered by partnerships can attract more people to the bus”.