Villagers angry at bus route change

VILLAGERS will meet bus operators and councillors tomorrow to discuss changes to a route they say will leave them isolated.

VILLAGERS will meet bus operators and councillors tomorrow to discuss changes to a route they say will leave them isolated.

Operators First Bus plan to change the 313 service so it bypasses New Mill and Jackson Bridge.

But residents of Sheffield Road between the villages say the new route will leave them cut off from New Mill.

And a resident of Jackson Bridge – who does not want to be named – says it would leave some villagers more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.

He said villagers would have to take a bus to Holmfirth before catching a second bus to New Mill, increasing the journey time from nine to 45 minutes.

The resident added: “People think this area is full of two-car households but many residents, especially the elderly, rely on public transport.

“For many people New Mill is a local centre. There’s a library, a butcher and a hairdresser. To many people the bus is a lifeline.”

Now the villagers will discuss their concerns with First Bus representatives and Kirklees councilors and Holme Valley Parish Council members at New Mill Club tomorrow.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm.

First Bus hope to modify the hourly service between Huddersfield and Hepworth by October 28. It says passenger figures between New Mill and Jackson Bridge are very low and the profitability of the service is poor.

A First Bus spokesman said: “Our current network in the Holme Valley is no longer sustainable, due to reducing demand and rising costs.

“We have been considering a number of options for major changes to services.

“Doing nothing is not an option and major changes are needed if our routes are to have a long-term, viable future.

“We are making the changes following extensive consultations with the parish council, Kirklees and public transport co-ordinators Metro.

“The new plans will benefit the majority of people in the Holme Valley through a simplified, easier-to- understand network, express buses, faster journey times, improved frequencies and a new £2.50 Holmfirth Area day ticket valid on all bus operators.’’

But he added: “Regrettably, the area of Sheffield Road between Jackson Bridge and New Mill will no longer be served.

“Our analysis shows that a maximum of seven people per day board along this section.

“It is not sustainable to continue to serve this section of road when the overall network is declining and the resources could be used more effectively elsewhere in the valley.

“It is our belief that focusing our buses in the areas of higher customer demand and the improving of frequencies will grow custom overall and turnaround what is a declining network.

“Although the journey time will be extended for some customers in Scholes and Hepworth we feel that the improved half-hourly service to Huddersfield will outweigh this disadvantage and be of benefit to the majority.”

 

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