A PETITION signed by over 1,000 people opposing cuts to rural bus routes was handed to the First company last night.
Residents of the Holme Valley handed the petition to transport bosses at a public meeting in New Mill.
The meeting was at the New Mill Club on Sheffield Road.
The petition arose after First said only seven people were using some sections of routes each day, but opponents say the First research was flawed.
After public anger First has now postponed changes to the 309 to 316 services until early December to resolve the issue
New Mill resident John Brooks said: “We believe the research was flawed.
“There was no public consultation on this whatsoever and by the time they met us we feel they had already made their minds up and came along saying ‘we can’t do anything about it’.
“If they take the buses away it is going to create huge social problems. The shops and post office rely on that particular bus service and the library is very close by.
“We believe these planned changes are ludicrous.
“They get a rural bus service subsidy to provide a service and they would be failing if they didn’t.”
First bosses say they are happy to postpone the changes and conduct further consultation with affected communities.
But Alan Pilbeam, managing director of First in Kirklees and Calderdale, says the drop in the number of customers was a worry.
He added: “We have carried out comprehensive surveys of passenger use on our buses in the Holme Valley over the past few months.
“Figures show that some sections of the routes are used by a maximum of seven people a day.
“This is just not enough people to allow us to run a commercial service on these sections of the route.”
The axe is falling on the 309 to 311, with major changes to the 312 to 316. These were due to begin next Monday but First has delayed the changes until Sunday, December 9.
Residents are hoping to persuade the firm to keep the services or find a suitable alternative.
One suggestion is a minibus link between New Mill and Jackson Bridge.
Clr Royston Rogers, a Kirklees representative for the Holme Valley North ward, said: “We are trying to work with our partners and get a better place for the whole of Kirklees.
“It may not be making money, but we should be looking at ways to make it pay and improve it and that is what we will now do.”