Bus route changes will ‘leave us housebound’

Neil Walsh: 'Change will make service more reliable'
Neil Walsh: 'Change will make service more reliable'

ELDERLY bus passengers are campaigning against route changes they say will leave them housebound at weekends.

A petition has been handed to Calderdale Council to protest against T J Walsh’s decision to cut out Mozley Drive, White Hill Road and Round Hill in Holmfield, Halifax, from its 700 Saturday service.

The section, which will be bypassed from the end of this month, serves a number of pensioners’ bungalows and flats.

Maurice and Mavis Lawton, of Round Hill, are among those who signed the petition.

Mr Lawton, 80, who gave up his car two years ago due to his age and recently had a pacemaker fitted, said: “It means people are going to be housebound more than they are already.”

He said it would leave residents having to rely on family members or taxis to get around on a Saturday.

The nearest stops they can catch the bus from are on School Lane and Occupation Lane.

“It means we will have to walk uphill quite a long way,” said Mr Lawton.

“On a bad winter’s day like we have had it would be an almost impossible task.”

Andrew Tagg, Conservative candidate for Illingworth and Mixenden, who has been campaigning alongside residents, said the service was critical.

T J Walsh currently diverts five journeys a day through Round Hill and Mozley Drive on the 700 service from Monday to Saturday.

Managing director Neil Walsh said the firm decided to cut out that section on a Saturday to make the rest of the service more reliable.

He said: “On a Saturday we have found it increasingly difficult to keep time going up Round Hill and Mozley Drive because there are more cars on the road.

“On quite a few occasions we have got stuck and had to reverse the bus off.

“That section is making the rest of the 700 service unreliable, and the Traffic Commissioner gives us set rules and regulations we have to abide by.”

He said the decision was not about saving cash.

“We have been running this service for 13 years and it has never been profitable,” he said.

“If it was about profit we would be off Round Hill and Mozley Drive all week.

“It is really an add-on social needs service, and we pick it up at our cost using the money from the rest of our services.”