Bus services across the UK could return to public control after Manchester became the first to take its fleet out of private hands.
After decades of privatization in the “Wild West”, plans are said to be afoot to allow local authorities power over setting bus routes and fares.
Areas looking to adopt the changes include West Yorkshire, where consultation will end in a month and a decision will be made in March.
Greater Manchester was the first English region to take back ownership of its public transport bus services.
Labor mayor Andy Burnham introduced the yellow-branded Bee Network in the hope it would deliver lower fares and better services for Mancunians.
Labor mayor Andy Burnham (pictured) introduced the yellow-branded Bee Network in Manchester in the hope it would bring lower fares and better services.
Bus services across the UK could be back under public control after Manchester became the first to take its fleet out of private hands (Bee Network bus pictured)
This came as a new poll by campaign group We Own found that nine in ten people in West Yorkshire thought local or central governments should control bus services, the Mirror reports.
It is believed that Liverpool will be the next local authority to introduce these changes to bus networks.
Consultations are also due to begin next year in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Yorkshire.
In the West Midlands, Oxfordshire, Strathclyde and Bristol, campaigns to nationalize bus services have also progressed. And candidates in the North Yorkshire and North East mayoral elections have shown their support for taking control of the buses.
Areas that have already restored bus power or are considering doing so have a combined population of nearly 28 million people.
The decision to convert Manchester’s buses into public ownership was not without controversy, with Burnham coming under fire in October for a series of delays and cancellations to his new London-style transport network.
Frustrated Bee Network passengers complained of “nightmarish problems”, with buses arriving two hours late and arriving already full.
Others complained that some buses were not arriving, leaving them wondering if the services had been hijacked by “aliens”.
Labor Mayor Andy Burnham launched his Bee Network last month, with the first franchised bus services operating in Bolton, Wigan and parts of Salford and Bury.
The network, which uses 50 new electric buses fitted out in yellow and black livery with several hundred more due to be delivered over the coming years, has made Greater Manchester the first region outside London to have a regulated bus system since the 1980s .
Members of the public queue to use the new Bee network bus service in Greater Manchester in October
The plan involves creating an integrated, low-cost, high-frequency public transport network, bringing together local trams, buses and bikes and, ultimately, local train services by 2025.
Deregulation of bus services began in 1989 under Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, where routes were handed over to private operators in many areas.
Campaigner Matthew Topham, of Better Buses for West Yorkshire, told The Mirror it was clear the public wanted to see an end to the “Wild West free market” for bus services.
He said: “We have seen routes cut as shareholders, often based overseas, make huge profits.”