A SHORTAGE of drivers is to blame for unreliable bus services in Huddersfield, says the First company.
The comments came after users of the 363 Huddersfield to Bradford service complained about buses being late or failing to turn up.
Angie Dickinson, of Brighouse, who uses the bus - which goes along Bradford Road - to get to work in Huddersfield and for social outings, said she was often left stranded by the lack of service between Brighouse and Huddersfield.
She also has a colleague who relies on the 363 bus.
"We are often late for work because of its failure to turn up, and then we are often stranded in Huddersfield, unable to get home," she added.
Last week alone four buses failed to arrive. The pair often pay £7 for taxis to work.
Mrs Dickinson said she was angry because they had paid for travel in advance by buying annual bus passes.
She said they would welcome rival bus firms competing for First's tender, to see whether services improved.
"The service boasts that it runs every 20 minutes in the daytime, but it does not live up to its advertising," she said. "We would prefer the timetable to reflect the true service, even if that means going down to two buses an hour instead of three."
Another user, Marilyn Hodgkinson, who works at Kirklees Council, said: "I have been complaining to this company for eight years. It has been the same old song all this time, no drivers, holidays, sickness and traffic."
She added: "Any complaints are like water off a duck's back. The unreliability just continues. Cannot other bus companies be given a chance?"
Keith Roebuck, operations director for First Huddersfield, said it was making huge efforts to get drivers.
"Four employees joined on Tuesday, with others already being trained. Unfortunately, training covers several weeks."
Mr Roebuck added: "In the meantime, daily efforts are continuing in attempts to maintain full services."
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