Bus-service frustration with areas still ‘cut off’

Transport chiefs are to meet the Department of Work and Pensions to discuss bus provisions in West Yorkshire.
Transport chiefs are to meet the Department of Work and Pensions to discuss bus provisions in West Yorkshire.

Regional transport chiefs are set to meet the Department of Work and Pensions next week to discuss the bus provisions in West Yorkshire.

The meeting has been arranged amid frustrations, expressed by some local politicians, that some areas which have seen sharp increases in jobs and houses are still not being well connected by public transport.

It follows a report last year that said young people in the district were being cut off from employment and training as a result.

Speaking at a regional transport committee meeting on Friday, Wakefield Labour councillor Kevin Swift said: “There is a problem with people being able to get public transport from some areas of deprivation, particularly in the former coalfield areas of the district. It is a major issue in the sense of being people being able to access employment from some of the smaller and medium-sized communities outside of the city centre.”

In response, Arriva representative Dwayne Wells said that Section 106 money, which is paid to councils by developers to help pay for an improved infrastructure, could help fund new services.

The company also said that it was having to put new vehicles onto the network just to honour existing timetables because of increasing congestion on West Yorkshire’s roads.

Committee chairwoman Councillor Kim Groves said: “In Wakefield, there has been rapid growth in housing and people do need to get to work.

“It has caused significant problems. We’ve got a meeting with Department of Work and Pensions next week because we need to look at the whole operation on this.”

In an interview last year, Arriva’s Yorkshire’s then-managing director said that bus industry had endured a “challenging” few years, but that the company had responded by improving services for local passengers.