Campaign launched to save Kirkheaton’s evening bus service
THEY could be left stranded. Residents in Kirkheaton learned this week that their bus route into town is due to be cut by April.
The 262 – which is the only service going through the village – will no longer operate after 7pm following a review by West Yorkshire transport authority Metro.
Although residents were aware of the “Use it or lose it” review which began last year, they have said that the 262 was not mentioned in any of the public notices – which meant they did not have a chance to object.
They claim that the transport authority has made and published their decision despite the consultation period still being open.
Theresa Wilby-Hood, secretary of Yetton Together, the community group for Kirkheaton, said: “We are very concerned at the effect this could have on our community. In our community survey 15% of households in the area were discovered to have no car and nearly three out of 10 people use the bus regularly.
“To lose this service would mean that residents without their own transport or the money to book a taxi will not be able to access any concerts, evening sports groups, late night shopping, hospital visiting, special events and much more besides.
“We also have shift workers very concerned about getting to their jobs, whether in Huddersfield or places like Leeds, Dewsbury and Wakefield, as they rely on the bus to get to and from Mirfield station.
“We know there are a good number of regular bus users and we also know there are an even larger number of occasional users who are deterred by such things as cost and an infrequent service. The Yetton Together Transport Working Group believes there is scope for ensuring the service is better used.
Theresa continued: “We would like the bus companies to persuade those occasional users to increase the frequency of their use through price deals, loyalty schemes, special offers for town hall concert-goers, well-timed buses and family tickets. This would help protect the service for those people for whom the bus is essential.”
Rochelle Parchment, the Liberal Democrat councillor for the Dalton ward, which includes Kirkheaton, said: “As a ward councillor I am deeply concerned about the possible removal of the 262 evening bus service between Huddersfield and Kirkheaton and Upper Heaton.
“I believe this will add extra pressure and costs to residents who need to get to and from work, in what are all ready very difficult times.
“The review is still out for public consultation and I’m urging residents to get involved and to respond to this consultation as soon as possible.”
A Metro spokesman said: “Metro currently pays for the evening and Sunday journeys on service 262 between Huddersfield and Kirkheaton/Upper Heaton. Because of low passenger use, and to obtain the best value for Council Tax-payers money, evening journeys on this service are due to be withdrawn at the end of April.
“The reduction in funding to the five West Yorkshire district councils means that the money Metro receives from them has been similarly reduced, which is why Metro is reviewing all the bus services it supports, including in South and North Kirklees over the coming months.
“Passengers can let us know their views on our proposed changes at www.wymetro.com/busreview.”