It is hoped that the temporary changes will add resilience to the current network and avoid short notice cancellations.
First buses have announced timetable changes across Huddersfield and Halifax in a bid to make the services more reliable at a time when driver shortages are at their highest.
The changes, which come into effect on Sunday (16th Jan), will affect passengers travelling on key high-frequency buses across Huddersfield.
In a statement on the First Halifax, Calder Valley and Huddersfield website the company explained the reasons behind the change.
The statement said: ‘We are introducing temporary frequency changes on selected bus routes from Sunday 16th January. The changes are being made to add more resilience to our timetables and avoid short-notice cancellations as we manage staff absence due to Covid and transmission rates of the Omicron variant.’
They also added: ‘The changes are only short term and we aim to restore services as soon as possible.’
The full list of changes are below:
|Service||Mon – Fri||Saturday||Sunday|
|308||Minor timetable changes||Minor timetable changes||No Change|
|324||Minor timetable changes||Minor timetable changes||No Change|
|328||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||No Change|
|372||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||Daytime frequency every 30 minutes|
|181/3/5/6||Minor timetable changes||Minor timetable changes||No Change|
|301/2||Combined Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||Combined Daytime frequency every 15 minutes||No Change|
|310/14/16||Minor timetable changes||Minor timetable changes||No Change|
|327/327A||Minor timetable changes||Minor timetable changes||No Change|
|370/371||Daytime service will operate half hourly on each route, with a combined 15 minute frequency on common sections. Additional peak buses will operate between Huddersfield and New College||Daytime service will operate half hourly on each route, with a combined 15 minute frequency on common sections.||No Change|
|X63/363||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes, changes to early morning and evening services||Daytime frequency every 15 minutes, changes to early morning and evening services||No Change|
The news comes at a time when bus companies nationally are facing a huge struggle to recruit and retain drivers as well as the added pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In general, services operating on a 7 or 8-minute frequency during the week will be every 10 minutes and those with a 10 or 12-minute frequency will be every 15 minutes. Saturday frequencies on affected routes will change by five minutes or less and the majority of Sunday services will be unchanged.
Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “We want to assure our customers that these frequency changes are only short term and we aim to restore services as soon as possible.
“Along with many other organisations up and down the country, we are experiencing a higher-than-normal level of staff absence due to the current wave of Omicron Covid 19 cases. The safety of our staff and customers will always be our number one priority.
“We are doing everything we can to minimise disruption to services and inconvenience to our customers and our teams are working extra hard to ensure as many buses run as is possible.”
He added: “We are continuing to do everything we can to support and look after our colleagues whilst in the workplace with hand sanitiser, face coverings and enhanced cleaning taking place to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus. Our local teams continue to ensure our vehicles are cleaned regularly to a high standard.
“I would like to apologise in advance to all customers who are affected by these timetable changes.”
The full timetables for all the routes affected are available to view on the First website by clicking here and selecting the ‘Forthcoming’ tab.