RESIDENTS have welcomed a new taxibus service, launched in the Colne Valley.
The chairman of West Yorkshire public transport organisers Metro, Clr Stanley King, unveiled the two brand new £31,000 taxibuses in Slaithwaite yesterday.
Passengers in the Colne Valley and Scammonden areas will be able to use the seven-seat vehicles to get buses and trains at Slaithwaite.
The vehicles, operated by Ryburn Taxis, of Sowerby Bridge, also have disabled access to make travelling easier for those in wheelchairs.
At the launch Clr King said: "The taxibus is a concept that we have needed for a long time. I think it will fill a gap we have at present.
"It is going to connect the railway station and Manchester Road, and will make it much easier for a lot of people whether they are travelling short distances or want to get on a train and go to Manchester or Leeds."
There will be two buses, one on a fixed route and another which will be able to detour up to half a mile off route to help pick people up closer to their homes.
Passengers will also be able to phone to make an off-peak journey from door-to-door in the area between Slaithwaite and Outlane and through the hilltops west of Golcar and east of Marsden.
Each vehicle has a wheelchair lift and seatbelts.
Tony Bowers, 58, from Slaithwaite, said he would be using the service and hoped it would tempt people out of their cars as well as providing a vital service for the elderly and disabled.
"It is a great idea and I am certain we will see it happening in lots of different areas," he said.
"I hope that school children will use the service which would mean fewer cars on the road."
Clr Ann Denham, Kirklees Council Cabinet member responsible for the environment and transport, hailed the new service as `great news for passengers'.
"The flexibility of the service is the beauty of it," she said. "I am convinced it will be a huge success and lots of people will use it. Hopefully it will be the first of many similar schemes across Kirklees."
Throughout the day, Monday to Saturday, the service will connect with trains at Slaithwaite for people going to and from Huddersfield.
Services start from Outlane and drop down to Slaithwaite via Pole Moor and Wilberlee or via Scapegoat Hill and Clough Head.
The taxibus stops at bus stops, but also operates on a hail and ride basis.
Bookings can be made on 01422 833885 when the buses start from Easter Monday.
On the first day it will be free to ride.