PASSENGERS have been left stranded as a shortage of bus drivers reaches crisis point.
Bus company First admitted they had to cancel services.
At least six drivers have left the company in recent weeks and they have also been plagued by sickness problems.
But operations director Keith Roebuck pledged to put matters right.
A recruiting campaign has been launched and several drivers are already in the company training school.
His comments came after criticisms by stranded Huddersfield passengers.
Deborah Nicholson, of Kirkheaton, uses the 317 Upper Heaton Circular to travel into Huddersfield each day.
From there, she either gets a lift or catches another bus to get to work in Bradford.
However, Mrs Nicholson said the 317 service is unreliable and this means she misses her bus or lift and is late for work.
She was prompted to speak out after three buses were cancelled in one week and two others were late.
On three days, buses missed and she was left to stand in the cold and dark.
She said: "It has always been hit and miss. They cut the number of services on the route, saying the buses that were left would run more efficiently.
"We are months down the line since they changed the buses and services are no better."
She said: "The main fact is that when buses don't turn up it is inconvenient. It's not just this service, it is across Huddersfield. I have lived in Kirkheaton since July 2002 and it has always been a problem. The annoying thing is you can't get answers out of anyone. They don't bother.
"How do they expect people to get to work? We are supposed to be encouraged to use public transport, but when it doesn't turn up how can you? If I could drive, I would never use a bus again."
Mrs Iris Lancaster, 74, of Coppice Drive, Netherton, complained the 323 service to Huddersfield which follows a route along Moor Lane and Coppice Drive started missing badly about a year ago.
"They are always late, if they come at all," she said.
When passengers grow tired of waiting 25 minutes or more in the village's quiet residential streets for the irregular service, they must walk hundreds of yards to the main Meltham Road where more regular services run. "We're all running round the village like idiots," she said.
She has sent a petition collected on the buses to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and the bus company.
"We have many old people up here and they can't all walk up and down," said Mrs Lancaster.
"It takes me a good 10 minutes or more to walk down to the main road and I have trouble coming back because it's uphill.
"They keep saying they have no drivers when I make a complaint."
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