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Imminent Bus Changes?

From Dave R

Monday, 6 January 2014

Does anyone have any updates on the replacement bus service for the Hebden Bridgers 593/591?

I have looked on Metro's website and cannot spot anything.

The draft timetable I have read that the changes commence 26th of January - less than 3 weeks away.

Is there anybody out there who knows more? Please?

From Kez Armitage

Monday, 6 January 2014

One of the key issues here is through ticketing. We currently have a 'Hebden Bridger' ticket at £2.80 which covers unlimited travel on all our small buses, and the First Calderdale services between Brearley and Mytholm.

Metro tell me that their Day Rover bus ticket at £5.40 (a near 100% increase) will cover bus travel in the area. I think this increase is unacceptable.

I wonder if our representatives on the Calderdale Passenger Consultative Committee can shed any light on what we can expect when TLC Travel take over our local services in two weeks' time.

From Julie C

Monday, 6 January 2014

Not looking forward to the end of the Old Town buses (A and 593) going up Keighley Road. I regularly catch the bus up from the end of Lee mill Rd - now it'll be the 500 to Pecket Bar, and then walk to Old Town, or walk back down to Commercial street to get the bus up via Dodnaze and Mount Skip.

It's also quite a hike from the Tod/Halifax bus stops on the main road up to Commercial St, nothing like as convenient as the stops at Hope Baptists and the White Lion. Just hope it doesn't snow big time, the bus will struggle getting up its new route, and what happens when Cock Hill is closed, that'll mean no 500! Grrrr - the people making the decisions obviously don't use the buses.

From John Rhodes

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Looking to the future if the bus pass scheme is ended there will be fewer people on buses and further pressure to cut rural services. We really ought to stop seeing the bus pass as a 'cost' when in fact it is a much needed public subsidy for an essential social service. Of course, saying that identifies it as a prime target for a coalition cut.

From Myra James

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

I am a public representative on the Calderdale Passenger Consultative Committee and have been wondering much the same as others - when are we to receive further news of the changes, especially the through ticketing? As I recall, the last we heard on that subject was that it was under negotiation. There is a meeting of the committee next Tuesday, 14th January, so I should to be able to provide further information after that - unless something has been forthcoming from Metro earlier.

From Dave R

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Thank you Myra that would be an update of sorts.

I have to say that I think it is pretty shabby of Metro to not put updates out there. The old consultation meeting notices are still in the bus shelters in most areas too.

The one contact we had in Dave, moved along and seemed to take all attempts of communication with him.

I am quite disturbed to see the whopping increase in fares via the back door of change of supplier. A person travelling to Halifax will be forced to accept the 'cheapest option' of the Metro day at £5.40 per day in order to commute from Heptonstall.

Our councillors have all gone quiet on the subject so it's looking like a done deal (or it isn't election time).

I would also like to see a final timetable for the changes before the day of change over.

From Myra James

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Dave, I really hope that the Metro day ticket won't be the only option. When the consultation was first launched I asked about this and was assured that through ticketing arrangements would be made to ensure that no-one would be out of pocket. It is rather worrying that all we have heard further to that is that "negotiations are underway". I hope I will be able to bring good news next week.

From Maureen Norwood

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Help! Can anyone tell me how I can cheaply buy a weekly ticket to use on the main line and the small buses, including those in Todmorden? I have been paying £19.50 a week to First for this service but now may have to buy a weekly metro card - is that so?

No way can I pay over £5 /day for these combined routes.

The alternative is to use trains and walk which works out much cheaper and keeps me fit - but walking up and down regularly from Mankinholes is only viable in good weather and minus shopping. I honestly need an answer.

From Iain F

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The new timetables and routes for the services from 26th January are on the Metro website.

As regards fares and through ticketing, there's no firm word about this, but Maureen might like to know that you can get a weekly Metro-Card for £21.50, or if you can afford to shell out the money all at once, a monthly one for £82.

TLC Travel who are going to operate the new services advertise on their website day tickets for £3.50 (off-peak) or £4.50 (peak), or a weekly ticket for £15, for their routes in Bradford so maybe they'd have similar prices in Hebden Bridge.

I'm writing as an exile from the area who's also a bus enthusiast. If you think your fares are expensive, the fares in my area (West Midlands) have just gone up and a journey into town from where I live costs £1.80 each way (£3.60 return) - and it's only 4 stops!

From Andrew B

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Maureen that is correct, the prices for Metro Bus Only passes can be found here: £21.50 is the weekly cost.

You would need to take a passport photograph into the Post Office or Train station in order to get the photocard part made, details here.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I would recommend delaying purchase of a MetroCard until we have more news on what through-ticketing arrangements are going to be available. If a version of the Hebden Bridger is retained, that might be a better option for some.

From Maureen Norwood

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Thank you all for the info. Looks like a £2 / week increase for me, just as it was when Tyrer ran the small buses. Just wish public transport was managed more thoughtfully (or renationalised, I dream on...)

From Myra James

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

I attended a meeting of the Calderdale Passenger Consultative Committee on 14th Jan, where we received an update on the new upper valley bus services. The new buses which will be used to operate the hilltop services are due for delivery next week and a launch day for the new services will include display of one of the new buses - date not yet announced. The bad news is that fares/through ticketing remain "under negotiation", with First unwilling to participate in a multi-operator ticket. Extremely disappointing. Less than two weeks away from the changes, passengers do not know what kind of cost they face for their bus journeys.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Thanks for the update Myra.

First do currently take part in the Metro ticket scheme, so are we to assume that they will no longer do this?

This will be a big blow as the only way that people living in hilltop communities will be access larger towns such as Halifax, Rochdale, Burnley is via 2 buses, one TLC and one First. If the Metro ticket is not honoured by First, then costs will be even higher than originally thought. e.g. a person travelling to work by bus, from say Old Town to Hebden will be £2.30, a first day would get you to Halifax and back for £4.60 and the £2.30 back up to Old Town. A whopping £9.20.

Surely this cannot be correct!

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

First will continue to operate under Metro's terms and conditions. That is a cast iron guarantee. All Metro Cards, Day Rovers etc will continue to be honoured by all bus companies, including First, TLC, Keighley and District et al.

What is less clear is the status of 'Hebden Bridger' Tickets. These were never a Metro initiative and as such, their future is uncertain.

The one, sad result about TLC taking over our local bus services, is that we now see that no bus company really cares about the travelling, and paying, public. And it's not just the bus companies, it's Metro too. Lip service is paid to customers through various committees etc, but the outcome is that they count for nothing. All we ever get is the same, or sometimes a lesser, service for more money.

It looks as though we may be lumbered with TLC Day Tickets at £3.50. So that's an extra 70p for a much reduced service. It's a sad refelction on Metro, and our representatives - Councillors and members of the public - that we are expected to pay so much more for so much less.

We are preached at, ad nauseam, about how we should use public transport wherever possible. It's a noble sentiment. But when you're kicked in the teeth, and have to pay more money for less service, then you have to question the sincerity of Metro and our Councillors. This is quite simply disgraceful. I'll be using my car more often, and, when there are two or three of us wanting to travel in the area, taxis are a viable alternative.

From Jenny B

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sadly some of us won't have the luxury of being 'able to use a car more often' and will have to pay the metro day/week price to get to work and back.

The main issue as I see it, is that TLC are only running this service on a trial one year basis.

Those that use their cars more often or share taxis, are playing into TLC's well oiled hands. Use it or lose it. Pay up or walk.

Dick Turpin would be proud.

From Myra James

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Jenny is right. It was said at the time of the consultation that whatever is put in place will be for a trial period only. If passenger numbers don't justify the Metro subsidy, services will be cut. Use it or lose it. However, it's quite true that for two or three people travelling together a taxi is often cheaper than the bus. It's a shocking state of affairs. Any notion of "public service" when it comes to buses vanished in 1985 when bus services were de-regulated. I think we know who to blame for that.

From Maureen Norwood

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Ok then. My next plan of action is to stop using public transport and start organising car share/ taxi share, or at least avoid buses and use trains/ walk up and down the hills. It is seriously too expensive for me to continue the bus routes on the new tariff.

This is a crazy result after all the consultations.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Neale Wallace, Bus Services Manager at Metro, has asked me to post this information about the new ticketing arrangements from Sunday 26th Jan:

The operators have informed Metro that new tickets will be available (as well as the existing full range of Metro tickets and English National Concessionary Passes).

The maximum single fare on the TLC operated minibus services will be only £1.75, with £2.50 (all day) and £10 (all week) tickets available on both their Hebden Bridge and Todmorden networks. TLC will accept valid extended travel tickets from other local operators on payment of a 75p supplement per journey. Weekly and monthly tickets from other operators will be accepted without charge until Sunday 2 February (weekly) or Sunday 23 February (monthly).

First and TLC will offer a £3 single through ticket to Halifax for fare paying passengers travelling from either Heptonstall or Old Town (or passengers can purchase a £5.40 all-operator Metro Day ticket). Return rail fares are also available between Hebden Bridge and Halifax, with many minibus journeys now connecting with train services.

From Nathan P

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Metro's communcation could be a bit better.

Useful as this message board is, surely this information should be on this Metro website.

Not having fares information available less than a week before services start is not impressive.

A £3 through single fare isn't terribly useful when for a return it'll be cheaper to get a £5.40 day ticket.

From M M

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Hi, I'm a driver for TLC and I'll be driving the buses in Hebden Bridge and Tod, the company has a good reputation for been friendly and polite towards the passengers and we always turn up. If bus breaks down for any reason (which hopefully it shouldn't do) we will always bring out a replacement &and a taxi will be paid for if not.

Our passengers come first and we will do anything to help them. For the first week, TLC's current buses from Bradford will be used because of the buses that are been built by Optare in Sherburn in Elmet are not ready yet but when they are out of the factory they will be pressed straight into service.

We are trying to get the services well used like how they used to be so could I ask that you tell your friends & family about the new company, because it will be guaranteed to turn up 99% of the time.

(We would be grateful if people could provide a name, not just initials. Thanks - Ed)

From Myra James

Thursday, 23 January 2014

I'm sorry if my earlier post gave the impression that this was the only or even the main means by which Metro is communicating these changes. Readers of the Hebden Bridge Times will have noticed that it is today's front page story.

On the Metro website see: this page. Scroll down for the new 590/592 and 595-599 timetables and a map showing where to catch the buses in Hebden Bridge.

I understand that maps will be placed on all the bus stops in the town centre to help passengers know where to go to catch their buses.
Old Town passengers travelling before 1900 can take a 596 from New Road to the rail station, from where it will proceed as a 595 Old Town service.

The ticketing news is disappointing as far as journeys to Todmorden and Halifax are concerned, where the cost will rise significantly. The fares offered by TLC for the local network look attractive though.

From Dave R

Thursday, 23 January 2014

I agree the local rate looks better than First cheapest option of a £4.60 or £3.80 off peak day ticket, but for those wanting/needing to travel into halifax the cost is a minimum £5.40 return.

My daughter was telling me that to travel from Old Town to halifax will mean she has to catch a bus 20 minutes earlier than previously but 'waste' 7 minutes' waiting for a connection in Hebden to Halifax. Not to mention getting cold and wet. coming home she faces leaving work earlier for a longer walk from New Road to Commercial Street and another wait for a connection. She has worked out that she will need to work a few hours later one day a week to make up the time spent travelling in comparison to now.

It might seem trivial, but add this 2 hours a week up over a year plus the extra 80p a day for a ticket and she feels a bit disgruntled.

Sadly MM, your request for us to try the reliable service has been blighted by previous track records. And . . . I have some concerns about the buses not being ready to start!

We shall but see.

From Myra James

Friday, 24 January 2014

Dave R. - one of your daughter's problems is not as bad as she fears. If travelling before 7pm, instead of walking from New Road to Commercial Street she can take a 596 from New Road to the rail station. It will continue from there as a 595 to Old Town.

From Nathan P

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Myra, I realise the new times are on the Metro website but your post is the only indication I've seen from official sources about fares - as someone who travels to and around the Hebden Bridge area but lives the other side of Keighley I've not seen the HB Times article.

I can't see anything on Metro's website about fares and from the TLC website you wouldn't even know they're running the Hebden Bridge and Todmorden networks.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Nathan, sorry to hear there is no readily available information on fares. I have emailed Neal Wallace at Metro for assistance on this.

Tonight I attended the Ward Forum in Hebden Bridge. Neale Wallace was there for Metro along with two people from TLC. Everything the TLC people had to say was very encouraging. They are a small business which prides itself on excellent customer service. Neale said they are one of the best operators in West Yorkshire. On fares, we heard that many £1.40 journeys have gone down to £1. I believe there is a maximum fare of £1.75 on the hilltop routes, £2.50 for a day ticket and £10 for a weekly ticket.

Unfortunately things are a lot less attractive fare-wise when you start to look at connecting to First services along the valley bottom.

TLC's brand new buses are expected to arrive before the end of the week so we should see them in service soon.

There were a number of questions about Keighley Road, served only by the hourly 500 with no evening service. Neale said that when looking at how to provide hilltop services they had to consider which routes would be most sustainable, but this is little comfort for those finding themselves with very poor provision. However, Neale has promised that the services will be reviewed in three months so perhaps there will be scope in the future to find a way to improve Keighley Road services. I hope so.

From Polly Gregg

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

I also attended the ward forum last night and amongst others questioned the withdrawal of a bus service up the Keighley Road.

Our questions and comments fell on stony ground and Neale showed no empathy for those of us who only have an hourly service provided by the 500 Keighley Bus, which we were told was deemed adequate. We no longer have an evening bus service nor the ability to catch a bus up to Old Town without walking down the hill to Hebden Bridge. Surely this could be resolved quite simply by creating a circular route for the 595 bus and alternating the route so that one bus went up the Keighley Road via Old Town, Dodd Naze & back to Hebden Bridge & the other following the reverse route. This worked quite successfully in the past with the 'A' & 'B' buses. I cannot understand why those of us living up the Keighley Road have been singled out as not needing a better bus service.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Here is some further information from Neale Wallace in response to issues raised at the Ward Forum:

Stop at Pecket Well

I have asked our infrastructure team to action placing a stop on Ackroyd Lane to provide a mini interchange between Keighley Road and Old Town. On the face of it there isn't a problem but it will be subject to the usual processes – Calderdale Highways, Road Safety, views of local residents and DDA issues so there could be some snags. I'll keep you posted as this progresses.


Just to explain.

The statutory concessionary fare scheme for seniors and disabled (0930 to 2330 Monday to Friday and all day weekends until 2330) is funded by central government.

In West Yorkshire the Integrated Transport Authority has a policy to provide discretionary funding for a number of other issues:

Free travel for Seniors and Disabled after 2330 up to last bus ( a small amount but applies to the flexi bus that departs at 2335)

Half fare on rail

Half fare for children (a very big amount of money)

These are all locally funded with no support from Central Government.

As the ITA's role is to set policy and Metro's role is to execute it, we do not have discretion to allow travel before 0930 as we would be contravening ITA policy.

Incidentally South Yorkshire PTE are currently consulting on removing free travel from 0900 and also a rail concession as a result of funding constraints.

Keighley Road

There are two issues here, daytime and evening services.

Daytime services

When First advised Metro that they were withdrawing from Heptonstall and Old Town one of the strong responses received was that there should be sufficient capacity to accommodate passengers on the new services.

As part of this process Metro revised the service pattern to provide an half hourly service between Hebden Bridge, Dodd Naze , Old Town, Pecket Well and Crimsworth to accommodate the bulk of the passengers within the area and to provide a simple sustainable service pattern with the potential for growth..

Whilst there are a significant number of houses at the bottom of Keighley Road over half of the mileage between Hebden and Pecket Well is through areas that are either unpopulated or extremely sparsely populated, mainly woodland.

The area currently has service 500 which is hourly (7 to 7 Monday to Friday, 8 to 7 Saturdays and 11 to 6 Sundays) which is extremely reliable and is provided by a high quality operator. Two journeys in the morning peak have also been introduced within the new network at the request of residents to replace journeys previously offered by the old 593.

The 500 service is supported by Metro currently to the tune of £114,390 per annum. To reintroduce an additional minibus service into an area that has a regular hourly bus service that is reliable and is already heavily subsidised would not be good value for taxpayers money as the effect would be to provide an uneven service pattern on the minibus network that would restrict the potential for growth and would reduce capacity along some other sections of route. A minibus service would also abstract revenue from an existing heavily subsidised contracted service.

Whilst we appreciate that the direct link between Keighley Road and Old Town has been severed there is never going to be sufficient demand to meet our value for money criteria.

Whilst we also accept that snow may be an issue on occasions in the Winter (curtailing the 500 service) it is not possible that what is on average a few day snow per annum could justify an additional service all year round six or seven days per week.

As we cannot justify an increase in service on Keighley Road on Value for Money grounds, regrettably the daytime service will remain unchanged until such a time as we can undertake a review of its effectiveness (see below)

Evening services

We accept that the current service pattern has meant curtailment of an evening service on Keighley Road. We have drafted an alternative proposal that restores an evening service on Keighley Road wef from the 26th April this year, our next service change date. Note that this means longer journey times for other residents but means everyone is served. We would welcome views on this proposal.

Service review

We have always been clear that we would review the new services after 12 months against our VFM criteria in the light of the substantial cost increase. We still intend to do this, hopefully with the result that the service remains unchanged.

That said we would like to arrange to come to the ward forum in about three months after things have settled down to receive any further feedback.

From Duncan Watson

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thanks for the updates Myra.

On the proposed review we should note that while this is scheduled for 12 months' time we do still have the current four buses guaranteed until August 2015 whatever the outcome of that review according to Metro's web site:

"Metro will therefore fund the four bus operation on a trial basis until August 2015. If after the first full year's operation, passenger use has not increased, Metro will consult on a revised network reverting to three buses."

It would be useful if you could publicise the Ward Forum in three months' time - and I can help by advertising it with the group of people that were involved in the consultation over the summer who might not access this forum.

One thing worth considering on the renewed timetables is whether a wholesale shift in times of all services backwards or forwards 10 or 20 minutes would mean a greater number of buses meeting trains with lower waiting times (and thus an increased number of commuters using the service).

(Ward forum dates, etc are posted in our "What's on" section - Ed)

From Neale Wallace

Friday, 31 January 2014

Regarding the review of bus services, Duncan is correct that the four buses will remain until August 2015. In february next year we wil commence reviewing the service to see how it is performing.

If changes are required ( and we sincerely hope nothing radical) we can then give advanced notice and the opoortunity for feedback.

From Jae Campbell

Friday, 31 January 2014

For information, Neale Wallace wants to return after the 26th of April and the next ward forum is already scheduled for the 1st April so he wants to attend the following meeting. Unfortunately this was only able to be confirmed after his email message had been sent.

Regarding advertising the ward forums on Hebweb, the dates are always included in the site's What's On at least a month in advance.

Hope that helps.

From Jenny B

Friday, 31 January 2014

So far, so good. Clean punctual buses, polite drivers, reasonable fares (its not TLC's fault that through tickets are more expensive).

I am quietly and a bit cautiously, impressed.

Hope it continues, but thanks for making my journeys less stressful this week TLC.

From Myra James

Friday, 31 January 2014

Further to Nathan P.'s question about fares, the information is to be found here. You need to scroll down to the section on fares.

From J Hall

Monday, 3 February 2014

I have lived on the Keighley Road for fifteen years and am a regular bus user. I can't believe Metro are not providing a bus service, for all those who live on the Keighley Road and roads leading onto the Keighley Road.

Ok we have the 500 bus, but this does not operate in the evenings.

When going out in an evening I used to catch a bus home, now I have to walk. As a pensioner I can't afford taxis. The 500 bus missed on Friday and I had to walk home in the pouring rain. I went to Halifax on Thursday with my Granddaughter and had to wait forty minutes for the 500.

Pushing a buggy and carrying shopping up the hill was not an option.
I would like to correct the times that have been incorrectly stated on this site for the 500 bus. They are hourly from Hebden as follows:- Mon-Fri 8am to 7.10pm. Sat 9.10am-7.10pm. Sun 12.10-6.10pm.

I know I'm not the only person who is disappointed that services have been cut. I believe it amounts to the loss of 30 buses a day! Reinstating evening buses would be a help.

From Myra James

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I am surprised that no-one has mentioned the plight of residents of Eaves. I will attempt to do so on their behalf, but I hope someone else might be able to fill in the details on which I am uncertain.

A regular minibus service was withdrawn completely at short notice (some 10-15 years ago?) when the operator decided it was unsafe to turn the buses around there. Following a long period with no buses at all, a limited service was eventually restored (about two years ago?).

This service is slightly improved with the new timetable, extending from five to six days per week. Services begin at 10.10 and the last bus of the day leaves Hebden Bridge at 15.10.

This is a circular service via Fairfield, so residents there are similarly poorly served, but don't have quite so long a walk as those wanting to get to Eaves.

From Nathan P

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The bit about fares has been added very recently to the Metro Website - at launch the page only stated that there hoped to be through ticketing.

It's welcome that it is there now.

There's also a proposed timetable for the 595 from April, diverting evening services along Keighley Road.

From Tim M

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Actually the Eaves service is OK - it now runs more frequently (afternoons, Saturdays - I think) and the bus is larger, more accessible then the old minibus (although I wouldn't fancy driving it up our street). The change to the route does mean you have to go via Fairfield first from town to get home if you pick it up by the Cinema, but you can walk a little further and get it from outside the Co-op to avoid this. The only downside really is that you now have to pay! (The reintroduced 'trial' minibus was free). It's a great boon to the good folk of Eaves as it is a bit of a trudge into town - especially for older people, small children etc.

The only criticism of Metro (who have worked hard to sort this) is that they have made the timetable very confusing - the old times are still on the electronic displays and printed on the bus stops.

From Myra James

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Tim, I'm very pleased to know that you are happy with the Eaves service. It doesn't look great to me on paper, but given that you spent several years with none it must be a massive improvement.

From Neale Wallace

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A quick note from Metro to say that we are pleased with progress so far. In the second week of the service passenger numbers grew by 12.5% over the first week.

From Jenny B

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Reliability will increase passenger numbers. This is what we were telling Metro all along.

The bonus of new buses, exceptionally clean (why do Firstbus users leave wet copies of the metro all over the floor?).

Mostly polite friendly drivers (just the odd grumpy one but never mind, we are used to that), cheaper fares on local routes, are all appreciated too.

I hope the Keighley Road service can be tweaked to suit, but in an I'm alright Jack sort of way, I don't miss the long route via Crimsworth to get to friends in Old Town or Doddnaze.

Keep up the good work.

From Nathan P

Saturday, 1 March 2014

TLC has registered changes on routes 595, 596 and 597 with the Traffic Commissioner - and interestingly a 594 service. The only information online is that it starts and finishes at Hebden Bridge Station.

These are all from the end of April.