Protests over cuts to vital bus services used by the blind

Wakefield District Sight Aid members angry about bus service being withdrawn.
Wakefield District Sight Aid members angry about bus service being withdrawn.

A social charity group for blind or partially-sighted people has hit out at a bus company’s decision to re-route a service used by its members.

Wakefield District Sight Aid is located at the Parkside Centre in Outwood, and for many the bus that stops a few metres away on Leeds Road is the only way of getting to the centre.

But Arriva has altered the existing 110 service route, meaning it no longer stops there.

Volunteer at the charity, Neil Newton, said: “This has come totally out of the blue. There have been no notices on display at the bus stops nor does there appear to have been any public consultation on this matter.

“Approximately 70 per cent of our clients are over 70-years-old, and many have other disabilities and all have associated sight impairment or loss.

“Needless to say many of our members, their family and carers are heavily reliant on public transport to attend the Parkside Centre and in particular to come to our social coffee mornings, equipment demonstration and advice days and social gatherings held throughout the year.

“The removal of these bus stops will have an adverse effect on the ability of many of them being able to get to our centre, denying them access to the support we offer as well as increasing the risk of social isolation.”

However, all has not been lost after Jon Croxford, managing director for Arriva Yorkshire says they will take a look into the situation.

He said: “After listening to customer feedback, and meeting with local councillors, we have agreed to review this decision to ensure the best possible outcome for the majority of our passengers.

“There are a number of bus stops in Outwood and Lofthouse in very close proximity, and so to improve the reliability and journey speed we reduced the number of stops in the area.”