'We've been left behind' say councillors calling for better bus services in Calderdale
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Recently many services have been cut or reduced by bus operators looking to maximise profit, said a senior member of Calderdale Council’s cabinet.
Contrasting quality services enjoyed for example in London with the regions, particularly the north, Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said “we’ve been left behind.”
A majority of councillors supported Coun Patient’s motion to the full Calderdale Council calling on councillors to work with West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin to secure long term improvements to bus services and urge her to press bus operators on releasing data on punctuality and cancelled services.
Some of Coun Patient’s comments were political, and upset Conservative group members who said they otherwise could support the motion’s recommendations.
Coun Patient, cabinet member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, said: “This more than just about buses, at heart it’s about equality, public safety, combating that loneliness and isolation and moving towards hopefully a greener future.
“It’s about the society that we want and need to have for everyone here in Calderdale.
“The Victorians knew all about citizens needing public transport to access work, services and leisure – but in 2023 in the midst of climate collapse and a cost of living crisis, the Government seems not to.”
Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said his group always fought for a decent bus network in Calderdale at every opportunity, as the motion said.
But he added: “We don’t need to have all this political stuff that he’s throwing in for the sake of it.”
A Conservative amendment taking out political content was defeated.
Loss of early morning and late night buses affected people’s ability to get to shift work, many on low pay, said Coun Helen Rivron (Lab, Ovenden).
Coun Martin Hey (Green, Northowram and Shelf) said privatisation 40 years ago had led to “higher prices, lower usage and less reliability.”
Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) said Coun Patient’s motion was “bang on the money”.
"We need to win back the trust of people who have given up on the services – it will take time, but I think we can do it,” he said.