Arriva Yorkshire Bus strikes: What services are impacted? People can’t reach their “safe place” fears charity

As passengers face another week of bus strikes as well as looming train strikes, a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities has said they hope Arriva Yorkshire begins to meet the demands of bus drivers.

CoActive Arts charity which provides creative and wellbeing activities for adults with learning disabilities have said the strikes have meant some of their members cannot currently access their regular groups which are a “life line.”

“It’s been really challenging for people, this is their safe space and some are having to spend money on taxis or not come at all,” said CoActive co-founder Mel Neale.

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Ms Neale said she had every sympathy with bus drivers who do a tough job for little pay.

Arriva bus workers on strikeArriva bus workers on strike
Arriva bus workers on strike

“We just hope that they can come to an agreement soon,” said MS Neale.

One CoActive member who attends the group at The Ridings Shopping Centre as well as other support groups throughout the week said she is having to select only a few groups to go to as she can’t afford to pay the taxi fare.

“It’s quite bad at the moment, I am having to pay out of my personal money,” said Rachael Lovell who travels to CoActive, normally by bus, using her disabled bus pass.

Ms Lovell said: “It’s making life really hard.”

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CoActive Arts charity is a safe place to many people to access creative arts, frendship and supportCoActive Arts charity is a safe place to many people to access creative arts, frendship and support
CoActive Arts charity is a safe place to many people to access creative arts, frendship and support

Prior to the strikes, she would normally volunteer and attend groups to meet friends, develop life skills and access support which she “loves.”

“Now I am sitting at home on my own doing nothing,” said Ms Lovell who has had to temporarily suspend some of her hobbies.

She said: “I would like the buses running back to normal. I would like them to get the buses sorted too.”

Ms Lovell said she hopes that when her bus services resume that bus drivers will have more time to stop at each bus stop and allow for passengers to sit down before setting off, especially for those with mobility issues.

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While West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin ensured there is a free shuttle bus to attend vital appointments in Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and is looking at other interim measures.

But when talks between Unite and Arriva Yorkshire broke down again on Friday, Brabin said she was “deeply disappointed.”

"As a bus user, I understand the frustrations of passengers and want nothing more than this action to be resolved. Sadly, because bus services outside of London are run by private operators, our powers are limited.

"In a cost-of-living crisis people need to be paid a fair wage but we also need to get our region back on the move.

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"I’ve met with Arriva Yorkshire and Unite and urged them to come to an agreement for the benefit of those needing to get to work, school and around the region,” said Mayor Brabin.

What services are impacted?

Bus company Arriva Yorkshire has been unable to operate services across Yorkshire with areas in West Yorkshire mostly impacted.

The areas impacted by the strikes are: Wakefield, Dewsbury, Castleford, Pontefract, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Bradford, Leeds, Ossett, Batley, Morley, Rothwell, South Elmsall, Hemsworth, Huddersfield, Halifax, Doncaster, Selby, York and Goole.

When did the bus strikes begin? When will the strikes end?

Workers at depots across the region walked out on Monday, June 6 and Unite the Union said they were protesting against the company’s “pitiful offer of a 4.1 per cent pay increase” during the cost of living crisis.

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No end date for the strike has been set and union officials met with Arriva Yorkshire representatives on Thursday (June 16) but no agreement was reached.

Arriva Yorkshire said it increased its pay offer to between 8.2 per cent and 12.7 per cent during the negotiations, but Unite refused to accept.

A Unite spokesman said: “We are committed to coming back to the table – at some point – as soon as we can get diaries sorted out to confirm and continue negotiating, to try and bring this dispute to an end.”

Arriva Yorkshire is urging Unite to call off the strike immediately and return to the negotiating table.

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A spokesman said: "This new offer represents an increase of between 8.2 per cent and 12.7 per cent and raises the top rate to £13.15 per hour as well as increasing back pay.

"We were hopeful today's talks would lead to a positive outcome and the ending of strike action across Yorkshire.

"However, we’re extremely disappointed at Unite’s ongoing decision to not ballot their members on this offer.

"Our customers will no doubt share this frustration as strikes will continue to have a negative impact on our communities.

"We repeat our call for the strike to be suspended and for the union to take our offer to our employees so that communities can access vital bus services."

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