A major shake-up to public transport funding in West Yorkshire could see some bus services in rural areas around Halifax severely reduced or completely axed.
In a review of bus services across the region, the West Yorkshire Combined Transport Authority has to make a 25 per cent cut to subsidised routes.
Metro is consulting with the public over plans to cut routes which currently serve Barkisland, Soyland, Ripponden, Dean Head, Krumlin, Mill Bank and Mountain, and scrap services to Rochdale.
At a public meeting held at Barklisland Cricket Club, dozens of residents voiced their anger over the proposals.
Kath Shickell, 56, was furious that cuts to bus services to Ringstone could leave her elderly mother isolated.
“These plans will affect the elderly and vulnerable the most,” she said.
“My mum is 82 and relies on the buses - if her bus service is cut, she loses her independence.”
Linda and Tony Foster of Krumlin said they are worried that the proposals will leave them without a bus on weekends.
Mrs Foster, 70, “I’m furious. We’ll be left with no buses on a Saturday,
“The 559 has been coming round here for a lot of years and they’re thinking of stopping that.
“There’re a lot of elderly people in Krumlin like us who rely on the buses.”
Mr Foster, 66, added: “We’ve a bus pass with nowhere to go - it’s like they’ve forgotten about anything past Barkisland altogether.”
Councillor Geraldine Carter (Ryburn, Con) has criticised the proposals, and said she wants as many people as possible to make their voices heard.
She said: “Every time there are major changes to bus services in Calderdale, it’s always the rural buses that get chopped.
“There will be no link at all to the Pennine Way by public transport in Calderdale - it’s just ridiculous,” she added.
Chair of Metro James Lewis said he is unhappy at having to make cuts to services, and said the proposals offered at the consultation represent a ‘worst case scenario’.
He said: “The point of the consultation is to get people’s views on the cutbacks.
“It’s about working with people to find out which journeys are important and at which times, so we can maintain a good service in the face of government cuts.
“The government has definitely got their priorities wrong when it comes to funding things like transport and councils.”
Calderdale Council’s deputy Labour leader Barry Collins said he will be keeping a close eye on how the consultation goes.
He said: ,“This consultation is our chance to speak out in defence of the services that so many people rely on in their daily lives.
“The government says that it is deeply concerned about the quality of life in rural areas up and down the country, and yet it’s presiding over a financial climate where, for example, buses in rural areas across the country are being cut.
“The potential effect of these changes could be really quite serious for some of the outlying communities, particularly on the hill tops.”
Labour MP for Halifax Linda Riordan said: “Metro are cutting the easy targets, leaving many areas isolated and cut off.
“Many of my constituents will be outraged and appalled at these cuts.
“I will be making my feelings known to Metro - it’s time for a re-think.”
FORTHCOMING CONSULTATION MEETINGS:
Saturday, June 14, 10am to 1pm, Halifax Bus Station.
Monday, June 16, 10am to 1pm, Ripponden Parish Coucnil Office.
Friday, June 20, 10am to 1pm, Tesco, Sowerby Bridge.
Thursday, June 26, 4pm to 7pm, Halifax Bus Station.
Tuesday, July 1, 3pm to 6pm, Sowerby Bridge Library.
Wednesday, July 2, 7.30am-10.30am, Halifax Bus Station.
Wednesday, July 9, 5pm to 8pm, Ripponden Parish Council Office.
For a full list of affected areas visit the following link.