PUBLIC transport company Metro has become the UK's first Passenger Transport Executive to be awarded Beacon Council status by the Government.

Beacon Council awards were set up to identify areas of excellence in local government from which other councils can learn.

The minister for local and regional government, Nick Raynsford, presented West Yorkshire transport chiefs with the award during a ceremony in London yesterday.

Metro chairman Clr Mick Lyons said: "When we were told that one of the themes for this latest round of Beacon Council awards was better local public transport, we had to put in a submission.

"Metro has already been recognised as a centre of excellence for integrated transport planning and Investors in People and awarded Chartermark status by the Government, as well as being judged PTA of the Year by our industry peers for three years running.

"I am delighted. Achieving this award is a recognition of Metro's determination to strive for improvement and the way those improvements are translated into better facilities and services for the people of West Yorkshire."

Mr Raynsford said: "The essence of the Beacon Council scheme is to help raise standards in local government services and the awarding of Beacon status to Metro reflects a high standard of achievement in delivering better local public transport.

"But Beacon Status is not just about recognising achievement, it is also about improving services everywhere. Metro will now play an important role in helping to spread this good practice to other local authorities."

In its submission, Metro cited examples of successes including the development of guided busways and new bus stations, including Dewsbury, and the £18.7m it has secured for Yellow Bus services to schools across the county, including in Rawthorpe and Bradley.