Bus services will be cut to make savings

LITTLE-used bus services in Spen are to be cut to help make savings at Metro, a meeting has heard.

Speaking at the Birstall and Birkenshaw Ward Forum, Metro’s bus services manager Neale Wallace said it needed to reduce costs by 25 per cent over the next five years, in line with funding cuts from the government and councils in West Yorkshire.

He said areas where savings could be made were limited due to spending on free travel for disabled passengers and senior citizens, as well as £60m paid annually to Network Rail to subsidise rail fares across West Yorkshire.

The cuts mean Metro has had to reduce the funding it gives to bus operator Arriva, which is making savings by stopping some early morning services, evening and Sunday services and those to rural areas and on the ‘urban fringe’.

A consultation document shown to the forum last week says from July 22 this year, the 220 from Huddersfield to Leeds will no longer serve the Woodlands loop in Gomersal to help alleviate punctuality problems.

The Woodlands loop will instead be served by the 225 Halifax to Leeds every half hour.

Extra services are planned for Whitcliffe Mount in September as Arriva expects an increase in pupil numbers. An extra journey in the morning is being provided by the 220 for a three month trial period on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.

From January several poorly used bus journeys will be withdrawn as part of a revision of services in North Kirklees.

Mr Wallace added: “Services carrying less than six passengers per trip are not worth running.”

Coun Andrew Palfreeman (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said: “We have to be mindful that there are people who rely on busses to get to work and back again, and we have to look after them.

“We need to make sure the people who genuinely rely on buses are not disadvantaged by these changes, and that our communities throughout Kirklees and in our own ward, like those in East Bierley, are not ignored and become isolated because there is a lack of transport.”

The consultation is due to end on Monday. For the full service review visit www.wymetro.com/consultation.