METRO will pay for buses to run in Huddersfield on Boxing Day for the first time.

Last year the Green Party and private individuals put on services on the day after Christmas.

But Metro, which co-ordinates public transport in West Yorkshire, will pay for 25 routes between 9am and 6pm on December 26.

Chairman Clr Ryk Downes said: “More and more shops, restaurants and cinemas are open on Boxing Day and people also want to make hospital visits or see friends.

“We have decided to run this trial to see if there is a demand for the services.’’

Among the proposed routes is one between Leeds and Huddersfield via the White Rose Centre.

Buses to Huddersfield from Golcar, Newsome, Meltham and Marsden are also planned. Services to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary could run from Almondbury and Rawthorpe.

Buses will travel every half-hour with a £2 all-day ticket. Adults will be allowed to bring one child free and there will be concessions for older and disabled people.

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The Green Party has operated a free Christmas bus between Berry Brow and the Royal Infirmary via the town centre for more than 10 years. The service has run on Christmas Eve night, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

But Clr Julie Stewart-Turner said the party may stand aside for Metro on December 26.

She said: “One of our main objectives when we started the buses was to encourage mainstream services to join in, so we’re chuffed about Metro’s decision.

“We probably won’t run buses on Boxing Day because we don’t want to compete.”

But the Newsome councillor added that the party’s other Christmas services would be running as normal. She said: “We’ll still have services on New Year’s Day and I’ll be driving the bus on Christmas Eve.”

Meanwhile, Scholes man Rodger Batley hasn’t decided whether to continue his free Boxing Day bus from the Holme Valley to Huddersfield.

Mr Batley, a part-time driver for Stotts, has driven a 27-seater minibus on December 26 since 2003.

He said: “I think I will still go ahead with my service because it’s free for passengers. Also my route is more circular than the one proposed by Metro.”

Mr Batley drives from Scholes to the Infirmary via Holmfirth, Wooldale, Thongsbridge, Brockholes and Marsh. Metro is proposing to put on a more direct Boxing Day service from Holme to Huddersfield via Holmbridge.

Mr Batley added that he would check to see whether Metro’s decision had affected Kirklees Council’s funding of his service. The council pays him about £140 to cover vehicle hire and petrol.