ANGRY villagers are to stage a protest against bus cuts, but it seems their plea will fall on deaf ears.
The First Bus 570 service in Rastrick was re-routed in January, leaving residents of Thornhill Road and Thornes Park without a bus.
Despite a meeting in July between Rastrick action groups and Metro representatives First refused to reinstate the service.
Now the Rastrick Bridge End Community Action Group is to hold a protest on Thornhill Road and Lillands Lane at 11am on Monday, October 27.
The group says vulnerable people have been left without an affordable means of travelling and shopping outside their neighbourhood.
Rastrick residents received a triple blow in January when First Bus cancelled the 380 and 381 service and diverted the 570.
Action group chairman Adrian Hartshorn said: “They promise you everything and said they would get back to us by the end of August.
“They didn’t, so we got back to them and they’ve said no. Anything they can save they will, even if it’s a litre of diesel.
“Plenty of people live on the old route and First won’t compromise. They could divert three other services running nearby.
“They think everyone has a car, but some people in their 80s won’t have one. It’s difficult for them to walk to another bus stop because it’s a one in six gradient.’’
“We hope our protest will show First that we need our bus back.”
Matt Davies, First’s operations director, said: “Services in the Rastrick area were changed in January following consultations with Metro and local councillors and there were few concerns at the time.
“Routes 380 and 381 had been losing money for some time and the changes involved restoring the services to profitability through combining with the 548, 549 and 570 routes.
“A small and lightly-used section of Thornhill Road is no longer served. A small section of Crowtrees Road remains served, but no longer has a bus to Huddersfield.
“In considering the changes we did take into account the distance that customers could reasonably be expected to walk to a bus stop. It is our view that the majority of customers can walk the short distance from Thornhill Road to Bramston Road and along Crowtrees Road to the next stop.
“It is appreciated that this is more difficult for the elderly or infirm. However, there is the alternative option of using the door-to-door Access bus service provided by Metro.
“Initially we had a very few complaints about the changes, which is reflective of their low usage. There has in recent months been a growing amount of concern from local residents for services to be reinstated and a petition was received.
“It would seem that although everyone wants the service not many actually used it, as the petition is signed by far more people than were using the services in the affected areas.’’