Buses threatened as cuts mean less cash to subsidise operators

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BUS passengers in West Yorkshire face less frequent services and some routes withdrawn altogether as public transport executive Metro reviews its budgets.

The organisation is currently reviewing the bus services it supports in and around Dewsbury, Batley, Brighouse, Cleckheaton, Pudsey, Mirfield, Heckmondwike and Scholes.

Consultation sessions continue this month and next for passengers in the county.

More than 80 per cent of bus services in West Yorkshire are run by bus companies without subsidy.

However, others, such as many less profitable early morning, rural, evening and Sunday services get taxpayer support through Metro, so government cuts could mean some Metro-subsidised services are lost.

Public talks have been taking place across West Yorkshire and the latest phase of the consultation focuses on North Kirklees.

There, services under review include the 129 to Dewsbury, Earlsheaton and Chickenley – which could be withdrawn because it attracts too few passengers.

The 205 between Pudsey, Morley, Tingley and Dewsbury may also run less frequently.

Metro Chairman, Councillor James Lewis, speaking at the start of the review process last year, said: “This Government has reduced the funding received by West Yorkshire’s Councils by hundreds of millions of pounds, which in turn means Metro has less to spend on bus services.

“We are taking the advice of the House of Commons Select Committee on board and will be consulting local people extensively to ensure that we reduce the impact of these changes as far as we can.”

The list of services affected by the review, together with an on-line questionnaire, can be found on Metro’s website at www.wymetro.com/busreview