West Yorkshire Mayor condemns latest cuts to buses in Wakefield
Latest changes in April come on top of service reductions at the end of February.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, has expressed her disappointment and frustration as local bus operator Arriva has announced a further round of cuts to services in Wakefield from 24 April because of a lack of drivers.
Many services will see frequencies reduced from half-hourly to hourly, while 17 services will not run at all on Saturdays.
Other areas will see no Saturday service, including between Ossett and Batley, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton and the Peacock Estate.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“I’m extremely disappointed to see Arriva making further cuts to services in Wakefield and Kirklees.
“These wholescale cuts to Saturday services and reduction in frequencies elsewhere are simply wrong and not in the best interest of passengers or our local economy.
“I am really concerned that this will adversely affect those businesses that rely on weekend trading and will have a huge impact on Wakefield city centre as well as other towns
“The cuts are the result of a failing business model, managed by overseas owners who appear to have little regard for the needs of our communities. These are the same owners who were unable to deliver the Northern rail franchise and are now unable to deliver a decent service to bus passengers.
“I’m incredibly disappointed that at a time when we’re trying to boost passenger numbers and recover from the pandemic these decisions have been made. It is not the behaviour I would expect from a company who will form part of our Enhanced Partnership in West Yorkshire.
“Arriva blames driver availability and we have been working with the industry, using our devolved Adult Education Budget, to fund training for new bus drivers. I also worked with all our bus operators recently to launch a bus driver recruitment website to attract new drivers.
“I’d urge Arriva to continue to work with us, as other operators have, so that services can be restored as soon as possible.”
West Yorkshire Combined Authority has funded driver training through its Adult Education budget, as well as supporting the operators’ driver recruitment. Anyone wanting to learn how to become a bus driver should visit the website at westyorkshirebusjobs.com