Accessible bus stations and stops make travel easier in West Yorkshire

Posted: 10 June 2015 | | No comments yet

Almost 185 million journeys are made by bus each year in West Yorkshire, UK. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is committed to making travel easier and more convenient for everyone, including people whose mobility is impaired. As Erica Ward, Accessibility Officer at WYCA explains, this includes developing accessible bus stations and bus stops.

west yorkshire

WYCA background

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is working to develop an integrated and efficient transport network that is comfortable, easy and which supports economic growth and enables the development of affordable housing.

Through the ‘Metro’ public transport brand, WYCA spends almost £20 million funding West Yorkshire bus journeys that commercial bus operators would not otherwise run because they don’t consider them profitable. WYCA also has a management role in the franchise for Northern train services in West Yorkshire, manages most of West Yorkshire’s bus stations, and maintains the county’s 14,000 stops, shelters and timetable displays.

Furthermore, WYCA manages around 500,000 AccessBus journeys per year for 5,000 registered users who are unable to use regular bus services.

Prepaid MCard tickets are managed by WYCA on behalf of the bus operators and WYCA spends £50 million annually on concessionary fares schemes that provide reduced travel costs for seniors, blind, disabled and young people.

WYCA develops and secures funding for transport improvements such as the new rail stations being built at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge and the planned station at Low Moor, the new Leeds Station Southern entrance, the new Castleford Bus Station, the NGT trolleybus and the new MCards and other smartcards being used to make over one million West Yorkshire bus and train journeys each week.

WYCA provides up-to-date information on all public transport services via its website1, printed timetables, the ‘YourNextBus’ real-time service, Twitter and Facebook, plus manages a feedback scheme to deal with people’s compliments and complaints.

Along with organising transport to and from schools for more than 40,000 West Yorkshire pupils, WYCA also manages the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) for approximately 386,000 blind, disabled and senior pass-holders, and also part-funds FreeCityBus and FreeTownBus services in Bradford, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Wakefield.

Accessible bus stations

There are 22 bus stations across West Yorkshire, varying in size and WYCA manages and maintains these seven staffed stations and 13 unstaffed stations. All bus stations have level access. Other accessibility features include:

  • Accessible toilets at major bus stations
  • CCTV cameras monitored 24 hours a day and seven days a week
  • Help points for personal security with an audio link to staff at the CCTV control centre
  • Fully trained staff
  • Electronic timetable information
  • Travel Centres at staffed bus stations
  • Good lighting
  • Staffed bus stations are members of their local Safe Place scheme.

Accessible bus stops

There are 14,000 bus stops and shelters across West Yorkshire, and WYCA is committed to improving passenger facilities at bus stops with accessibility features including:

  • Bus shelters with seating
  • Good lighting to increase personal security
  • Bus timetable information at almost all stops
  • Contact details for public transport information (call centre, website and real-time) on all bus stop plates
  • Raised kerbs, bus stop marking and clear-way marking to ease access on and off buses at a large number of stops
  • RNIB REACT Talking signs are included in YourNextBus real-time displays at 275 stops across West Yorkshire. The signs are activated by a RNIB REACT key fob, which triggers an audio message confirming the location of the stop and details of next buses due.

Accessible buses

Over 95% of buses in West Yorkshire are designed to allow wheelchair and Class 2 mobility scooter access, and this number is rising all the time as bus operators invest in new vehicles. Low floor or ‘easy access’ buses have powered or manual ramps to allow easier boarding and have dedicated wheelchair spaces.

WYCA specifies that DDA compliant vehicles must be used for public tendered services.

Supporting vulnerable passengers

Travel Assistance Cards

WYCA Travel Assistance Cards have been designed to help disabled and older people when using public transport. They can be particularly helpful for people with hidden disabilities such as hearing or visual impairments or learning disabilities and for people who are afraid of falling. Passengers can use the cards, which are available from bus station travel centres and online1 to let the bus driver know about any requirements they may have when getting on the bus.

Safe Places

WYCA works closely with West Yorkshire’s Safe Places schemes and our staffed bus stations are all Safe Places members. Safe Places schemes help people with learning difficulties and other vulnerable people feel confident and safe while out and about. Shops, services or businesses that agree to be a Safe Place put a logo sticker in their window so it can be easily seen. People who have joined the Safe Places Scheme carry an ‘I need help’ card with the contact details of someone they trust. Staff in the Safe Place will be able to help anyone who has an ‘I need help’ card and asks for support.

Bus Station Tours

Huddersfield and Dewsbury Bus Station Managers have recently worked with travel training schemes, local schools for students with a learning disability and other local organisations to provide group tours of the bus stations. The tours have focused on feeling safe in the bus station and have promoted the local Safe Place schemes. These tours are also available at other staffed bus stations across West Yorkshire.

Huddersfield Passenger Assistance Scheme

A new service that enables disabled people to book ahead for assistance is being trialled at Huddersfield bus station. This assistance might take the form of guidance for people with sight impairment or help finding their way around for anyone who is unfamiliar with the bus station’s layout. They may also provide advice on signposting to nearby on-street bus stops rail stations and taxi ranks and help with reading leaflets or travel information.

Dementia Action Alliance

WYCA is a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Dementia Action Alliance, and Bus Station Managers are in touch with their local Dementia Action Alliances across West Yorkshire. During 2014, we worked with the Alzheimer’s society to provide dementia awareness training for WYCA staff, and during 2015, will be working with bus operators to increase dementia awareness across the public transport network.

Wider partnership working

WYCA works with a range of partners at a West Yorkshire and a local level to maintain and promote accessible public transport across West Yorkshire. This includes regular liaison and engagement with local disability partnerships and other organisations to seek feedback on public transport services and facilities.




Erica Ward has spent 15 years working in the public transport industry, with a particular interest in transport and social inclusion. She is currently Accessibility Officer at West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA). She works closely with internal and external stakeholders, customers and communities to develop and implement projects with a focus on social inclusion, accessibility and equality. Before joining WYCA, Erica worked in the voluntary sector as a Community Development Officer, gaining experience in community engagement, project development and fundraising.