'Crisis' warning as Arriva announces yet another round of bus service cuts in Wakefield
Wakefield's transport network is said to be nearing "crisis" point as Arriva is set to wield the axe over local bus services yet again.
The operator has confirmed it will cut even more journeys from its timetable from late April, having already slashed services twice in the last four months.
Weekend passengers will be among the worst hit, with seven buses having their Saturday timetables "suspended".
Arriva later clarified that this means no buses on those services will run at all on weekends, with none of those journeys currently carrying passengers on Sundays either.
Other journeys are having their weekday timetables scaled back, with 29 local routes affected in total.
The company has blamed the ongoing driver shortage for the chaos and insisted the forthcoming changes will only be temporary.
They've also denied claims the cuts have been made for commercial gain.
Full details of the changes, which kick in from the 25th April can be found here.
Wakefield Council's Cabinet member for transport, Coun Matthew Morley said Arriva's approach "simply isn't sustainable."
He said: "We cannot be far from crisis point with our public transport and the decimation of rail and bus services must stop.
"The service cuts from 2021, were supposed to be temporary but have shown no signs of being reinstated and here we have a new set of reductions, essentially axing easy to use weekend bus travel.
"Lots of people work on Saturday, and they rely on buses, in some cases using multiple services. This will make life incredibly difficult for them.
“We understand it’s a tough time for bus operators, but this is not acceptable. "Buses are a public service, and Arriva needs to recognise that.”
Dwayne Wells, Arriva Yorkshire's commercial manager, defended the firm's approach at a meeting with local passenger representatives on Thursday.
He said the shortage of drivers meant Arriva was already struggling to meet the current timetable.
He said: "Clearly buses not turning up goes against our service standards and what passengers rightly expect from us.
"Some services will have a reduced Monday-to-Saturday timetable, some will have a reduced Saturday timetable only. Some will have their Saturday service temporarily suspended.
"These have not been made for commercial gain. Once the details become clear that will be obvious.
"Profitable routes and marginal routes have all been reduced proportionately.
"We think this is the least disruptive option available to us to manage our way through the current crisis."
Mr Wells said that Arriva was working "intensively" to recruit more drivers and praised current staff for their hard work in recent times.
Local Democracy Reporting Service