Arriva Yorkshire announces significant ‘temporary’ cuts to Saturday bus services

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.

Arriva Yorkshire have announced plans to significantly cut bus services on a Saturday in what is being described as a ‘temporary measure’ due to the current shortage of bus drivers.

Many services will see frequencies reduced from half-hourly to hourly, while 17 services will not run at all on Saturdays. Arriva operates a large number of bus services in Dewsbury, Leeds and Wakefield, however a number of their services run in Huddersfield.

These include the 202/203/228/229 between Huddersfield and Leeds, the 231 / 232 between Huddersfield and Wakefield and the 261 which runs between Huddersfield and Cleckheaton.

In a statement on the Arriva Yorkshire website, the company said “Bus companies across West Yorkshire have suffered from the UK-wide driver shortage over recent months, which has resulted in some last-minute cancellations. Buses not turning up because of last-minute cancellations goes completely against our service standards and what passengers rightly expect from us. We don’t want to let you down, and we’re sorry if we have done recently.”

It adds “We know the scaled-back timetable we’re introducing isn’t a perfect solution, but we’ve worked hard to ensure critical routes continue to be served, while less-used routes are served with less frequency. We feel this is the least disruptive option available to us. These changes should mean we have enough drivers to operate the published timetable and to minimise disruption, whilst we work behind the scenes to recruit new drivers to help us restore our services.”

However, these temporary service changes have been slammed by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin. In a statement she said ““I’m extremely disappointed to see Arriva making further cuts to services in Kirklees. These whole-scale 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.”

“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.”

For the full details of the upcoming service changes and to view the latest bus timetables – head over to the Arriva Yorkshire website by clicking here.

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