Wakefield bus passengers have spoken out against operator Arriva as sweeping changes to their services come into play.
The company recently announced major changes to routes across West Yorkshire – including key services in Wakefield, Batley and Leeds.
Although the bus company says the changes will allow it to run 96 per cent of its pre-Covid network in West Yorkshire, many have spoken of the huge impact the changes will have on them – with reliable services taking them to work and life-saving medical appointments change or disappear altogether.
For Kettlethorpe man Simon McKeith, the changes will see him paying £60 a week just to get to his hospital appointments.
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Simon, who has had 22 operations in recent years, fears missing vital appointments now that the 110 line has changed and no longer passes near his home.
He said YorkshireLive“I don’t drive, so I have to rely on the bus, like a lot of people do.
“I’m angry and worried. Money is tight at the moment and I don’t want to shell out £60 to go to hospital – I can’t afford it.”
And at Wakefield bus station this week, other passengers blamed the cuts on the Arriva’s door.
One commuter, Stewart Kinghorn, thinks the current crisis highlights bigger issues in the way buses are run.
He said: “It’s just a continuation of Arriva’s poor performance as a business. There is a general shortage of bus drivers due to Covid and it has affected them so it is something they cannot control.
“But I think there are other shortcomings at Arriva, it’s not locally owned and it’s not locally managed so I don’t think that helps.
“That it will get better as more people pass the [bus driver] tests, time will tell, but at best Arriva is not the best bus company in the area. That’s just my opinion.
Another man, Tony Miller, blamed the situation on the shortage of drivers.
He said: “It has certainly affected my own bus route, the 110. There is a general shortage of bus drivers which has been made worse by people leaving with Covid, it is causing disruption and they are canceling buses.
“People seem to be waiting longer but hopefully it will work out.”
Andy Sturgeon largely agreed with Mr Miller, saying: “There’s nothing to say other than we’re short on drivers.”
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In an official statement, Arriva said: “Arriva is fully committed to providing the best possible bus services to communities in the region. The decision to make limited changes to services in West Yorkshire is a direct response to reduced passenger demand.
“Throughout the pandemic we have operated almost 100% of our pre-Covid network in West Yorkshire and now we need to make targeted adjustments to our services as travel habits have changed, including with more work home. We have endeavored to ensure that customer journeys are impacted as little as possible by modifying services at bus stations to reach the same destinations.
“Following these adjustments to our network which will come into effect on February 26, we will still be operating around 96% of our pre-Covid network in West Yorkshire, which compares extremely favorably to other regions and operators.”
- If you are unsure which services have been affected, you can check out our article here or check out further updates on the Arriva website here.
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