THE number of people taking the bus has dropped dramatically in West Yorkshire over the last 18 years, it has been disclosed.
Old and uncomfortable buses were today blamed as one reason for the decline.
Kirklees councillor David Ridgway, a Liberal Democrat member of West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority, said: "How can the Government expect more people to travel by public transport when the quality of service on our buses is showing no signs of improvement?
"In Huddersfield, many of the buses are old, unreliable and, quite frankly, not fit for their purpose."
The number of passenger journeys in West Yorkshire fell from 291m in 1985-86 to 181m in 2002-03.
The figures match a widespread drop in bus use in the English metropolitan areas outside London.
Clr Ridgway said: "We will only get people out of cars when we have safe, reliable and affordable public transport. This Labour Government should put customer satisfaction at the top of public transport targets."
* A £474,700 grant has been awarded to improve transport links to Lowfields Business Park, Elland. The grant to Calderdale Council is from the Government's Urban Bus Challenge scheme.