Wakefield district bus users can expect ‘good news’ over new routes and services, says transport chief
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People relying on public transport across the district have suffered in the past 12 months as operators have axed or reduced services .
The cuts led to Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for planning and highways, claiming people in rural areas had been ‘cut off’.
He has also accused operators of ‘refusing to play ball’ with the local authority.
Coun Morley told cabinet colleagues at a meeting on Tuesday (September 12) that bus users could soon expect more positive news.
He said: “Hopefully, in the next few weeks or couple of months we will be able to make some good announcements over an increase in bus uses and new bus routes coming on as well.
“Things are moving in the right way in terms of public transport.”
Coun Morley made the comments as senior councillors discussed a progress report on the council’s corporate plan.
The key public document sets out the local authority’s priorities and ambitions from 2022 to 2024.
Coun Morley also highlighted the recent long-awaited completion of the £9.7m Newton Bar improvement scheme.
The A650 roundabout to the north of the city centre has been redeveloped with new pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, cycling lanes and carriageways.
He said: “Anybody using Newton Bar will be moving a lot more smoothly and successfully than they did before.”
Coun Morley has publicly criticised Arriva over the operator’s services in the district.
In September last year he said service cuts in Wakefield has been worse than anywhere else in West Yorkshire.
He said at the time: “The bus companies aren’t playing ball with us.
“Myself and my colleagues get constant e-mails from local residents about cuts in services.
“Some areas have been cut off altogether.
“In rural areas where we have minimal bus routes, you can’t get out in the evening now.”
In June, Coun Morley proposed a motion calling for a number of measures to improve services.
They included working with West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin to ensure the bus network across the region is brought under public control.
It also called for a ban on municipal bus companies to be overturned.
The motion was carried at a full council meeting.