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Metro Bus Service Consultation

From Dave Pearson

Monday, 22 July 2013

Early in the year Metro consulted local people on changes to bus services in the Hebden Bridge area. We have revised our proposals in the light of the feedback we received and we wish to seek further views.

Subsequent to our initial proposals, First have advised of changes they propose to services 591 and 593 which require further consultation and would necessitate the adaptation of Metro's proposals for the minibus services.

We are now seeking the views of local people on these changes and I would encourage you to study the proposals on our website.

I and my colleagues will be at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Wednesday 07 August between 10:00 and 18:30 to explain the proposals further
Whilst I am sure the proposals will attract debate on Hebweb, the best way of making your views known is to complete our on line questionnaire or come along to our drop in sessions.

For reasons I hope you will understand, I cannot engage in the debate on Hebweb.

Dave Pearson
Assistant Director Transport Services

From Andrew B

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Anyone else got a feeling of deja vu? Service changes which will apparently improve reliability, which really means a reduced service where buses still don't turn up and if you ring up to complain you are abruptly asked "What do you expect me to do about it?"

I suppose there is no harm in completing the questionnaire and hoping for a miracle.

From Anne Williams

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

People might wish to note that while Metro are proposing to replace current buses with smaller vehicles, they state that: ‘Unfortunately the use of smaller buses will mean less room for shopping, buggies etc. Also some passengers may find it harder to get into and out of a smaller minibus.’

People who most rely on these services risk being excluded – for instance parents with young children, older people, anyone who isn’t agile etc. If that happens, it will be disgrace. If smaller vehicles are needed for the bends, more buses will be needed with a more frequent service. I think the previous buses seated about 25, along with standing room and plenty of space for wheelchairs and pushchairs, while the new proposals refer to 'up to 16 passengers'.

Metro say they will finalise make and model of buses when the operator is appointed - surely the possible options should be included in the consultation?

Metro need to stand up for all the public they are meant to serve, and not ignore people when it’s convenient. As for First, if they want to provide a service, they should do it properly - otherwise someone else should do it.

Apparently there is going to be a £1billion transport fund for the region – perhaps some of that could be used if investment is needed?

From Dave R

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My initial thoughts were that the unreliability of the service has led to a drop in use so allowing Metro to justify the re-shuffle.

The other key issue is the loss of a through service from hill top villages.
The proposals also seem almost discriminatory see the statement taken from the consultation:

What type of buses will be used?
Metro are proposing to increase the number of minibuses from 3 to 4 and to use smaller vehicles which are better equipped for roads in the area. This will enable us to serve more areas. The smaller buses will carry up to 16 passengers. Unfortunately the use of smaller buses will mean less room for shopping, buggies etc. Also some passengers may find it harder to get into and out of a smaller minibus. We will finalise the make and model of buses when we appoint a bus operator for the services.

It is vital that older people, disabled people and parents with prams can access the service. How can Metro justify this proposal!

From Tim B

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The new F service to Eaves using the 'minibuses' actually quite gererously sized has been a real benefit - and watching a double decker try and get through Heptonstall is always fun (unless you're coming the other way...)

From Andy M

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

It is vital that older people, disabled people and parents with prams can access the service. How can Metro justify this proposal!

This is a extremely viable question to ask in relation to their Equalities Act obligations. Any reduction in their provision would need a very robust defence on their part I would have thought.

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

When I saw that Metro had come up with new proposals for our local bus services, my heart sank. We all know that rural bus subsidies have been slashed. This, I thought, would be the perfect opportunity to decimate our local bus services.

How wrong I was! The proposals are better than any of us could possibly have hoped for. Essentially the local services will continue. No community will be isolated. The only downside is that people from Old Town and Heptonstall will have to change buses in Hebden Bridge if they want to go to Halifax - a small price to pay for a 10 minute service on the heavily utilised Hebden to Todmorden service.

The proposed new buses for the local services may not have the flexibility in terms of accommodation for pushchairs and shopping, but the simple truth of the matter is that there simply aren't the resources for the buses that perhaps we would all want. Metro are on a hiding to nothing; they are expected to provide continuity of service with an ever decreasing budget. For those who say "This is simply not good enough", I'd point them in the direction of rural bus services in some non-metropolitan boroughs. Some communities have one bus a week into their local town, with an hour to do your shopping - otherwise you have to get a taxi or wait another seven days to get home. We really don't appreciate how lucky we are.

Not long ago, there were buses to Keighley on a Wednesday and a Saturday only, and those were infrequent. Now we have a daily, hourly service. Unfortunately, we seem to assume this is the norm, unaware that each and every journey we make is being subsidised. Ultimately, someone has to pay for the transport we have come to expect. Those who criticise Metro's proposals need to ponder on that a while.

From Lucy Coast

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Right - so we should be grateful for crumbs because other people have even worse services. . . and if I can’t get onto the bus, well there’s just nothing to be done, I’ll just stay in the house.

There is huge transport finance - which my the way my tax contributes to. Simply not true that there is not enough. Question is whether Metro - and us - care enough.

From Anne Williams

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I've had a quick look at the Equality Act and the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR)

The Regulations cover all new buses and coaches brought into service since 31 December 2000, which carry more than 22 passengers and are used to provide a local or scheduled service. Metro are proposing reducing the capacity from 25+ passengers to 16 - how very convenient!

It looks to me like that on the proposed 16 seat minibuses there would be no requirement to provide wheelchair spaces or other accessibility features. Like me, people should be getting very angry with Metro about this.

From Jenny B

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Personally, Kez, I think that everyone should be treated as equal and have the same access to service as you or I. To tell us to thank our lucky stars that we have a service is condescending.

It costs me a large proportion of my income to travel around the valley. I take my children to school by walking or bus. I shop; travel to work; visit my dentist; my GP; the chemist; friends; relatives etc by bus. I pay for a service. usually £4.80 per day. Most days at peak times I am lucky to get a seat. At other times, usually after the 9.30, we have the heavily subsidised pensioners filling seats travelling for free.

Most of the off peak day many buses run up and down the valley not even half full.

Why should we accept isolation because we live in a rural area?

Why should disabled people be unable to leave their homes independently?

How does the young mum/dad with a baby get him to the health centre or GP?

Why should pensioners sruggle with their shopping on and off 2 buses to get home?

All so that there is a 10 minute service for the lucky ones who live in the valley bottom?

The bus service from Todmorden to Halifax that you praise for being increased, is actually quite frequent now.

There are 4 buses an hour: 590/2/4, and if you live in Hebden you have 6 buses an hour to Halifax and back, because the 592/3 run through too.

So on that calculation, that is already a bus every ten minutes. Where is the increase?

Do you see all 6 buses full between 10.00 am and 3.00? I dont.

Do you think that you deserve 6 buses an hour whilst the hill top communities get 'one a week'?

Is that fair? Or is it a case of I am alright Jack?

From Kez Armitage

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority's website makes it quite clear that they are having to provide services with an ever decreasing budget.

Here's an idea. This morning we have learned that local authorities are making £565 million from parking fines and charges. Perhaps this money should be ringfenced for use on public transport projects, including rural bus initiatives, rather then just being used to replenish depleted town hall coffers.

From Ben Plumpton

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I agree that it's going to be a cut in provision for us lot on the tops. Since the daft changes to the A/B timetable (which mean that the morning commuter-time A bus comes at exactly the same time as the 500 from Keighley, and there is no longer a bus up to Pecket Well which connects to the main commuter trains arriving from Leeds) there are oddly enough less people on the Hebden Bridger buses. I thought at the time this was being done with the intention of reducing demand so they could more easily cut our services, and now it looks like this is happening.

Is there really a need for more buses along the valley from Halifax to Tod? Whenever I travel that route there seem to be loads and loads of buses. If Metro are still getting a rural bus subsidy, then they should make sure there is a decent service to the rural areas as well as the towns. My family use the 593 service to get to and from Halifax and it's very useful - though it stops far too early in the evenings.

I'm not keen on the argument "other areas have it worse than us so we should put up with reductions to services". It's the same line as "workers in the private sector have rubbish pensions so it's only fair that workers in the public sector should have theirs downgraded" which is only a short step away from "workers in other countries work incredibly long hours for very little money and no employment rights, so we should accept the same".

Anyway, back to practicalities, is anyone else having trouble filling in Metro's survey? I've spent ages filling it in, several times, and when I click 'done' at the end it takes me back to the beginning again! Very frustrating.

I'd encourage everyone to attend the consultation sessions, fill in the survey (if they can!) and email Mr Pearson direct.

From Dave R

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I too completed the survey only to be directed to the beginning. No acknowledgement that my responses had been recorded.

This does not bode well for an open and honest consultation process.

I have emailed metro to notify them of this. Perhaps if Dave Pearson is keeping an eye on this thread he could look into this too. Otherwise please could someone publicise his email so we can all contact him directly?

Update: Quick response from Metro forwarded to me:

We have checked the survey and it is working fine. Upon completion you get a message saying “thank you for completing our survey”. When you click on DONE it takes you back to the beginning. All our surveys have been set up like this without complaint. It enables another user to complete the questionnaire from the same computer without having to log back into the site.
We have had a look at the survey results to date and we have had a good number of responses already.
Bus Services Consultation Team

From Phil M

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Metro have now put up notices that they will be truncating the 591 so it no longer goes to Heptonstall and truncate the 593 so it no longer goes to Peckett Well and Old Town. They are proposong to do this in Jan 2014 and will further isolate these areas! Old Town especially has recently lost the B which now just goes to Dodnaze and back. Really quite a shame.

From Dave Pearson

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Having read the recent posts regarding Metro’s current bus service consultation I would like to clarify a few points for you.

Buses – those of you who regularly use the current services will be aware that the current minibuses struggle to get around some parts of the route especially narrow roads with parked cars. Services were withdrawn from Eaves and Fairfield because of problems reversing buses. We want to serve these areas but to do so we need smaller buses. Inevitably smaller buses have narrower doors and less space inside. There are also very few short, narrow, low floor buses on the market. It is only fair that we point this out to people in the consultation. We also propose to increase the number of buses from three to four but we aim to do so at no additional cost. This requires the use of buses which cost less to buy and are cheaper to operate. We have not yet selected a make and model of bus for these services, when we invite tenders for the services, we will invite bus operators to propose vehicles which meet the specification we set.

Consultation – I hope I can reassure concerns about our consultation process. In completing the online questionnaire, once you have reached “thank you for completing our survey”, you can be assured that your response and comments have been recorded. Emails sent to busconsultation@wypte.gov.uk are also logged and the main points raised are recorded. During a consultation process we do not engage in a protracted correspondence with respondents. At the close of the consultation we evaluate all of the issues raised. We will feedback to First the issues raised about services 591 and 593 and we will look into adapting the Metro funded services to meet the issues of greatest concern. I am sure you will appreciate that the final outcome is determined by what is affordable, practical and likely to generate sufficient passengers to keep the services viable into the future.

Dave Pearson
Assistant Director Transport Services


From Anne Williams

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I appreciate Dave Pearson taking time to post. I am more worried now than I was before though.

Mr Pearson gives no sort of assurance whatsoever about accessibility. Even small buses can be accessible – it’s not rocket science really. What is to stop Metro setting standards for accessibility for whatever type of bus is chosen?

Since there is no assurance about accessibility I really worry that Metro already accept an outcome where people are going to be unable to use the new buses.

Obviously affordability and value for money matters - but what criteria are Metro using to decide what is value - how much value are
they putting on accessibility?

While on the subject of affordability - what criteria are being used to decide how to spend the transport funds for the region - including the £1 billion new transport fund for the region which we all help pay for - Yorkshire Post

Finally, on the consultation - how are Metro and First taking responses into account? We give our views – how do they influence the decision -do they at all? All looks a bit opaque to me.

From Dave R

Friday, 2 August 2013

According to the Equality Act (transferring the rights of disabled people under the DDA) providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to allow access to public transport.

As to the transport provider’s duty to make reasonable adjustments, all transport providers offering services in relation to the provision or use of a vehicle have a duty to take reasonable steps to change a practice, policy or procedure which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of those services. They also have a duty to provide an auxiliary aid or service if it would enable (or make it easier for) disabled people to make use of those services. There is no duty to overcome a physical feature unless it is in relation to rental vehicles or breakdown recovery vehicles. The duty to make reasonable adjustments is anticipatory and will require a transport provider to take into account the same factors and considerations as those outlined above in Part 3. Again, it should be noted that there is nothing in the DDA or the 2005 Transport Regulations that would require a transport provider to take any steps which would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, operation, trade, profession or business.

The issue here is that Metro propose to buy new stock so it would be 'reasonable' that they source accessible transport. Rather than simply saying that low level buses are in short supply, Metro need to be ensuring that new stock does meet the needs of disabled passengers. This may mean paying more (which I suspect is the real issue).

The fact that we are being told these proposed smaller buses will not have access for wheelchairs, prams and shopping and that some people may find them difficult to get on/off does not make the proposals less discriminatory.

Our local councillors should be picking up on this matter as urgent. The consultation period ends next month and before we know it this will be another job done. Metro are already meeting their statutory duty in declaring their intent to terminate the current 591/3 service as though all this is a done deal.

From Duncan Watson

Friday, 2 August 2013

It would be useful for us to organise ourselves so we can act collectively on this issue and have a powerful voice with which to engage those who can influence the outcome of this (e.g. Metro is effectively governed by elected Councillors some of whom are drawn from Calderdale Council). If others think it will be useful I will seek to organise a venue and invite Metro representatives, Councillors and others that we think ought to be invited to try to get the best possible outcome from this consultation. I will arrange this for the next two weeks.

The proposals look like they will have a significant impact on the accessibility of the communities served by the buses. People who cannot step up onto a bus because it's physically difficult for them to do so, people with pushchairs, people with shopping, people who have to travel at a time when these buses often have more than 16 people on them would all be adversely affected by the proposals.

The consultation window is relatively short and I agree with earlier comments that it's imperative that each of us takes the time to respond formally in the manner outlined by Dave Pearson (given the difficulty in fitting all one might want to say into the survey forms emailing to the address giving one's thoughts in addition to completing the survey may be advisable).

I will ask the Town Hall whether they can donate a room to host the meeting and will post back here with Hebweb's permission on the details.

Any ideas or offers of help in the interim that aren't relevant to be shared here then I've set up an email:


Declaration of interest - I live in a community affected by this and my family and I use the buses.

From Dave Pearson

Friday, 2 August 2013

Firstly I would like to reassure people that the accessibility of the buses to be used on the network will be of paramount importance when we assess tenders to operate the services in Hebden Bridge; we do not intend to provide a service which cannot be used by those who need it most.

We will use the Accessibility Specification for Small Buses issued by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) to assess the vehicles proposed.

What our consultation material is seeking to point out is a proposal to use four smaller buses rather than the three currently in use and therefore passengers may experience a difference in terms of ease of access.

Dave Pearson
Assistant Director Transport Services

From Kez Armitage

Friday, 2 August 2013

Completed the consultation. Also written to Craig Whittaker, outlining a few ideas.

My greatest concern is that, if more reliance is placed on the 500 service (Transdev Keighley), and the 900/1 service (K-Line, Huddersfield) Metro really need to come up with some form of inclusive ticketing. At the moment, the daily Hebden Bridger ticket (£2.80) is valid only on First Bus services between Brearley and Mytholm (including all the local buses to outlying areas). One of the proposals from Metro is that K-line will be running the majority of buses up Cragg Vale, with First taking over in the evening and at night. At current prices, this would mean that you could no longer use a £2.80 Hebden Bridger ticket, but would have to fork out for a Metro Bus Day Rover at £5.40. Granted, the Day Rover would take you anywhere in West Yorkshire, but that's cold comfort if all you want to do is use local services. It's almost twice the price for nothing extra.

The 906 service from Widdop to Hardcastle Craggs is another case in point. When the service was run by First, you could get the E bus up to Blackshaw Head, walk over to Widdop, and catch the 906 back into Hebden, all on a Hebden Bridger ticket. No longer. You can still buy a Metro Bus Day Rover or else pay additionally for the 906, run by Calderdale Community Transport, and the most expensive bus fares in the upper Calder Valley.

From Duncan Watson

Monday, 5 August 2013

The public meeting to discuss and decide on actions in response to the current Metro proposals will be held at 19:30 Tuesday 13th August in the Council Chamber in Hebden Bridge Town Hall. (The clerk to HRTC has kindly arranged the room for us.) The room is reached through the main entrance to the Town Hall and is accessible for wheelchair users via an internal lift.

The purpose of the meeting is to consider how to get the best outcome for our communities from these proposals and what we can best do as a group to hold Metro to account both for the past disruptions and in the future.

Councillors from Hebden Royd and the surrounding parishes are invited to attend as are our ward representatives from Calderdale Council and Calderdale Council's representatives on Metro's governance committee. Dave Pearson has stated he is unable to attend but the invite has been extended to one of his colleagues to represent Metro.

The consultation page on Metro's site states that the proposed new buses will carry only 16 people (currently at peak times more than 16 people use the E bus service that serves Heptonstall and Blackshaw Head, anecdotally this is true of other services). Equally worryingly it states that the new smaller buses will have less room for shopping and buggies (it is silent on space for wheelchairs but presumably there will be less space for these too) and it states that some people will find it more difficult to get off and on these smaller buses.

This is the second consultation in 6 months. One year ago Metro agreed a three year contract with First and yet they appear now to be renegotiating. In the year that First have been running the service there have been disruptions and cancelled buses and there is no evidence that Metro have done anything to hold them to account. Metro seemed unable to effectively hold the previous providers (Tyrer) to account either with in excess of a year of a significantly disrupted and unreliable service before their contract ceased.

It is important that the residents of and visitors to the communities around Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd have a regular, reliable and accessible service - Metro's continual poor record on holding its providers to account means the first two requirements are not being met and there is little confidence that anything will change, the proposals look like they will affect the latter requirement of accessibility.

While the proposals claim to address the reliability and regularity issue the same claims were made when Metro temporarily took over the service a year ago, the same claims were made when First took over the service following that, and the same claims were made to justify the changes earlier this year - in each case the claims were false. The natural and justifiable assumption is that the claims of the current proposal are also false.

I hope as many of us as possible can attend in person on Tuesday but please do email if you cannot but would like your views considered.


Please also email with offers of help in organising or input on what we can usefully cover and have as actions from the meeting.

From Greg Hobson

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Has Craig Whitaker ever been a paying passenger on a bus in the Calder Valley? I doubt he is the correct person to direct concerns too.

From Paul Clarke

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

You are assuming Whittaker knows where Hebden Bridge is, let alone bus routes in and out of town.

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Greg, just because you don't use a service, it doesn't necessarily mean you are not is a position to influence a decision. In this case, I'm sure you would agree that what is proposed for our local bus services is as much political /financial as it is an attempt to respond to the wishes of local people. I'd say more so actually. I'm sure you're right that Craig Whitaker doesn't use the bus services, but I'm as equally sure that he's well aware of the issues (I'm told he reads Hebweb, for example!).

Of course you can simply respond to a 'public consultation' - tick a few boxes, write a few pithy comments etc - but so often such exercises are merely that - a box ticking exercise which the authorities can use to demonstrate they consult their users. It's often a token nod towards 'quality assurance', 'best value' and 'meeting performance targets'. There's often no obligation to take things any further. Cynical I know, but not without a grain of truth.

There are two main reasons I chose to write to Mr Whitaker. One is the proposed reduction in size of buses and the resulting loss of space for wheelchairs and buggies, and difficulties for people with limited mobility. Any proposal which threatens to reduce access to a service by disadvantaged groups needs to be challenged, and challenged at the highest level. I felt a letter to our MP was probably better than writing a few comments in a box on a consutation form. You may, of course disagree. In a 'belt and braces' way, I've actually done both.

My second point to Mr Whitaker was more general, and therefore outside the remit of Metro. This was concerned with the large amount of money made by local authorities from car parking fines and charges, and my hope that this money could be ringfenced and ploughed back into the local transport infrastructure (including local bus services). A slim chance, I know, but a policy that would be both socially and politically popular.

Writing an email to Mr Whitaker took no more than five minutes and cost nothing. He may not be 'the right person' but hey, what the heck!

From Dave R

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The key issue that came out of yesterdays session (as given to me by one of the Parish Councillors) was that for Old Town, Nutclough and Dodnaze residents there will be a number of issues.

  • The buses will revert to a 2 an hour circular route.
  • They will both run from Commercial Street to Dodnaze, Old Town, Crimsworth, Nutclough, The Station. This means any downward journeys will involve the long route over to Crimsworth. For Dodnaze and Old Town residents this will add addiitonal time to their downhill journey For Nutclough uphill users who would need to travel the whole route to get home time will be added to their uphill journey.
  • Passengers travelling to Halifax will then have a short walk from Albert Street to New Road to connect with through bus.
  • Passengers travelling from the Halifax or Todmorden direction will disembark on New Road and will then need to walk to Commercial Street for all journeys home. This as we know is an incline, so for older less able passengers, those with shopping, buggies etc, it will make your journey more difficult.
  • The buses will be smaller 16 seater. If all buses are running one route, this could mean that at peak times, there is a possibility that there will not be enough room for everyone waiting. e.g school times in particular may be an issue.
  • The buses will be 'less accessible'. This may mean buggies will need to be folded and wheelchairs assisted. A smaller bus has less luggage space etc. Apparently the problem with parked cars on all routes means these smaller buses will have to be used.

The consultation continues for a short period only. You must have your say via the survey or attend the meeting arranged.

This information needs to be shared with anyone affected.

From Susan Quick

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Having just completed Metro's online survey, I think Metro should be aware that the majority of their service users are members of the older generation, thus the least likely to have internet access and/or be comfortable communicating via the web.

May I therefore request that Metro conduct their survey in places frequented by older people e.g. shelterted accommodation, churches, Baptist church morning tea, Methodist luncheon club.

From Dave J

Sunday, 11 August 2013

As an add on to Susan Quick's message, perhaps Metro could conduct their surveys actually on the buses. That way, surely they capture all of their passengers.

From Stuart Harper

Monday, 12 August 2013

In response to Dave R (8/8), when you say "The buses will revert to a 2 an hour circular route" and "They will both run from Commercial Street to Dodnaze, Old Town, Crimsworth, Nutclough, The Station" where did that info come from please?

As the proposed new timetable for January 2014 is not like that at all.

From Dave R

Monday, 12 August 2013

The information I was given was from a Parish Councillor who did express concern about the route planned. I can only think that he misheard the proposals and without access to the net didnt see them.

My intent was not to scaremonger, as some of the issues are still very relevant, e.g the access and the route to and from bus stops to change. Not everyone uses trains.

From Paul Rigg

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

I have sent my twopenneth in.

I am disappointed to note that the Blackshawhead buses in the evening are to be timetabled to leave the station at XX15 which destroys the connection with the train from Leeds. It also has the effect of making the last Blackshaw Head service even earlier. I do approve of the 1/2 hourly service as far as Slack Top though and I have asked if the flexibus service could be similarly extended through the week.

The Cragg Vale service has a big gap from Hebden Bridge between 0837 and 1010 which I think should be filled.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Nutclough residents are a bit hard done by too being left with just the Keighley bus hourly and no direct bus on to Old Town. Bus user parents of of Old Town School pupils living in this area will have no direct route to drop off /collect children.

Another issue re the smaller buses is that 16 seats is a very low number if you consider the potential demand at peak times for the circular route of Dodnaze; Old Town;Crimsworth, currently served by 3 separate services.

I do agree with an earlier comment to consult those who are travelling on the buses, asking them for their views. Not everyone has access to the internet. Although I do note the changes are well publicised in shelters and on buses themselves.

Another point raised by a friend who is a regular traveller is that some of the proposed routes are currently off the 'gritting/snow clearing priorities routes'. Is there any intention to recategorise the new routes as high priority for gritting?

From Stuart Harper

Thursday, 22 August 2013

I have been (or tried to be) a daily user of the A/B bus for 3 years now. It has been a very inconsistent and almost unusable service for at least 18 months of those 3 years. The last change to the timetable (B only going to Dodd Naze) is farcical.

The proposed changes for the A/B bus seem very sensible to me.

The current bus stock is very unreliable and needs changing, so if that means using a cheaper more reliable smaller bus then I'm all for it.
Hopefully Dave Pearson has addressed the accessibility issues in an earlier post.

The frequency will be increased.

Linking to the trains has been improved.

The only downside is to have to wait until the end of January 2014. We have had to put up with this failing service for far too long now.

Well done to Metro for coming up with a good set of changes for the A/B.

From Paul Rigg

Thursday, 22 August 2013

It should perhaps be pointed out to the poster above that school bus HB2 links Keighley Road to Old Town School, and the timetable for it is here.

I think the reference to Aire View on that timetable is a typo - don't think there is an Aire View - the route of the bus is shown at the top.

From Duncan Watson

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The accessibility considerations have not been addressed. The new buses will be much smaller and have less space for wheelchair users, and people with pushchairs. The buses will also not have enough space for all the people that wish to travel on them at certain peak times. On some routes this will mean a wait of a further hour for the next bus to turn up (e.g. on the E route for residents of Colden and Blackshawhead for any bus that is over occupied past 8:45 a.m.). It is not the case in reality that the frequency of services will increase under the proposals because the 591 and 593 services are ceasing, the frequency will be the same but the buses will be less than half the size.

Dave Pearson has advised that he is shortly to issue invitation to tender documents and that he feels this does not compromise the consultation process. Given that one of the key points in the proposal is a reduced size of buses then there clearly is a compromise to the tender process.

I would urge people who worry that they may no longer be able to access services to write to one or more of the members of the governance committee of Metro, these are Councillors from across West Yorkshire, they are elected officials and they are the ones who can reverse these decisions.

Their email addresses are below:

james.lewis@leeds.gov.uk, eric.firth@kirklees.gov.uk, ruth.billheimer@bradford.gov.uk, andrew.carter@leeds.gov.uk, Ycrewe@wakefield.gov.uk, ryk.downes@leeds.gov.uk, Keith.dredge@bradford.gov.uk, michael.ellis@bradford.gov.uk, Mgraham@wakefield.gov.uk, kim.groves@leeds.gov.uk, councillor.dhardy@calderdale.gov.uk, Imran.khan@bradford.gov.uk, gwen.lowe@kirklees.gov.uk, veronica.morgan@leeds.gov.uk, andrew.pinnock@kirklees.gov.uk, john.procter@leeds.gov.uk, Geoff.reid@bradford.gov.uk, councillor.fshoukat@calderdale.gov.uk, elizabeth.smaje@kirklees.gov.uk, neil.walshaw@leeds.gov.uk

From Helen Filby-Scoffin

Friday, 23 August 2013

In addition to the very real concerns about bus size, accessibility and the vagaries of the tendering process, there are some serious problems with the actual time-tabling itself. Metro have only ever allowed 9 minutes to get up from Heptonstall to Blackshaw Head. I couldn't do this in a car, let alone in a bus that has to pick up people in pushchairs, wheelchairs, walkers with large rucksacks and dogs and then has to contend with Calderdale winding roads, narrow passing places eg. at Colden and getting stuck behind tractors.

At the consultation at the Town Hall I was handed a provisional time table which has optimistically reduced this time to a snappy 8 minutes! It is quite evident that the planning of the bus time table is done by someone who sits in an office in Leeds and thinks that these buses are driving around sedate housing estates with wide roads. Whoever does the Metro time tabling needs to come up here and see what it is really like. At present the E bus starts off on time but by 4 O'clock it is usually running up to 20 minutes behind schedule due to lateness accrued throughout the day. If this contract is to be tendered out it needs a realistic time table and a company that can show hard evidence of

1. Maintaining punctuality and reliability,

2. Good bus maintenance and

3. Good staff relations.

All these were of serious concern under Tyrer.

From Paul Knights

Friday, 23 August 2013

Further to Duncan's post, it's worth pointing out that at the well-attended public meeting at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on 13th August to discuss how to respond to Metro's proposals, it was decided to act collectively under the banner of the Hebden Bridger Action Group (HBAG). Please email hebdenbridger@gmail.com with ideas, offers of help and if you wish to be kept up to date with the actions of the group.

A Hebden Bridger Action Group Facebook page has been set up. Please sign up and invite others.

We would urge people firstly to fill in Metro's consultation survey (survey link at bottom of page).

You can also email your response. The consultation ends on 9th September.

But as Duncan says, the group's correspondence with Dave Pearson of Metro does not give hope that Metro's proposals can be altered to any great degree. It does therefore seem that direct appeal to these 22 members of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (of which Metro is the executive arm), all of which are elected councillors, is necessary.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Read HebWeb news item: Buses: Hebden Bridger Action Group formed following public meeting, featuring Duncan Watson's letter to Metro

From Lindsey H

Sunday, 6 October 2013

I am led to believe TLC (Bradford) are going to be awarded the Hebden Bridge and Todmorden minibus networks.

They already operate significant tendered work in Bradford and Keighley and are quite highly regarded.

From Julie C

Monday, 7 October 2013

I'm still bothered by a number of things about the Old Town service. The main one is that the only buses going up and down the Keighley Road to Pecket will be the hourly 500 to Keighley. This means that all the Nutclough, Hurst Road, Lees Road, Midgehole people will go from 3 buses an hour to only one an hour, and none late in the evening or when Cock Hill is closed by snow.

All the Old Town passengers will have to travel via Birchcliffe, Dodnaze and the Mt Skip turn to get home. Pecket and Crimsworth people will need to take this route in the evening. All that will be tricky in the winter, and Metro's response that they will maybe need to have a 'snow route' up Keighley Rd didn't sound well thought out.

Lastly, all of the minibuses will be leaving town from the Commercial Street stop, far less convenient than Hope St or the White Lion stop for the less able, and not convenient for those who have travelled on the Halifax /Tod buses.

There will no longer be through buses from Old Town to Halifax as the 593 service is being withdrawn.

Hope all this makes sense to non-bus passengers. I am not just being picky. These changes make a big difference to those of us dependent on the bus.

From Dave R

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The first issue that jumps out is that if TLC get the contract, then it will be issuing their own or metro tickets rather than First bus. This will add at least £1 per day for a through ticket. Those who purchase TLC ticket will be limited to the locality and not able to use their ticket to travel to Halifax or Todmorden as these routes will be operated by First bus. metro tickets come at a higher cost.

From Lindsey H

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Apparently integrated ticketing as been agreed with all operators over the Calder Valley networks!

From Stu H

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Re Dave R (8/10), Reading from the HebWeb news item of 25/9, it appears that the through ticket issue is going to be given some thought:

"Other positive news from the meeting was that Metro hope to seek agreement from all operators running local routes to allow a sensible through ticketing structure. (Many had been concerned that if different operators ran the Hebden Bridger and valley services that passengers would have to buy two separate tickets with the consequent expense.)"

From Myra James

Thursday, 10 October 2013

In response to Dave R., Metro have given an assurance that through ticketing arrangements will be made so that passengers aren't left with the situation described, which did occur when the contract was let to Tyrer. Of course we must await the details but my understanding is that passengers should not be left out of pocket as a result of the new arrangements.

From Jenny B

Thursday, 10 October 2013

I'm not trying to be picky here but I was hoping that First were to be given the contract. Mainly because, 'through ticketing' usually involves a Metro ticket which as DaveR points out costs £1 per day more than the current 'through ticket' issued by First.

I just can't see how another company will allow Firstbus tickets to be used, just as Tyrer didn't, but hope Myra and others are right.

If not, this will mean I pay £6 per week more than I do now. Multiply this by increased 3 student cross company tickets (again the First student costs less than the Metro pass), and our family travel costs could be potentially £15 per week more.

Could someone please try and see exactly what the through ticket proposals are?

From Dave R

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Having decided to take one of my regular local bus tours yesterday I had time to muse the new proposals. There are several things that still irk me about the new proposals.

  1. 1. The use of the old stock 'to start with'. - We know this is unreliable, indicated by the usage yesterday of the yellow school buses to presumably cover for broken down buses. The new service starts in January, the old buses are likely to be less reliable in wet, ice, snow.
  2. The 'use it or lose it' threat. - If the buses aren't used they can be reduced to one an hour. So, that means some areas going from 3 to 1 buses an hour as First are withdrawing the 591/3. In addition, the unreliability of the stock (see above) will mean that people's confidence in the service will not be great. New stock from the start would at least give users the confidence that their bus may turn up.
  3. The through ticketing option is still under discussion. If as has been pointed out the Metro ticket is adopted this will add £1 per journey for those living in rural areas.

I see we have until 15th of January to voice our concerns to Metro.
Please do so.

Previously, on HebWeb

HebWeb Forum: Proposed Bus Changes (April-May 2013)

HebWeb Forum: Bus problems, again (Nov 2012 - Feb 2013)

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge Bus Services Consultation, over proposed changes from April 2013

HebWeb Forum: Hebden Bridger bus problems again! (February-September 2012 - 139 messages)