Crunch talks on future of buses in the Calder Valley

There could be major changes to bus services in the Calder Valley. Picture by Richard Lyon
There could be major changes to bus services in the Calder Valley. Picture by Richard Lyon

The long-term future of bus services in the Calder Valley should be decided today with a whole range of proposals set to be discussed.

West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority’s Scrutiny Committee (Bus Services) is set to meet in Leeds to discuss provision on the Hebden Bridge and Todmorden local bus services.

On the agenda will be loss of direct bus services to Halifax, ticketing, vehicles, interchange in Hebden Bridge; and evening services in Blackshaw Head/Heptonstall, Old Town, Keighley Road, Banksfield and Nest Estates, and Fairfield and Eaves.

Service operator Metro, which recently carried out a comprehensive consultation on bus service provision in Hebden Bridge, will make a number of recommendations .

These points include: seeking an agreement from all local operators on ticketing prices before services change; ensuring that the successful minibus operator will have to provide new or relatively new vehicles which should be more reliable; and asking First to consider keeping a direct service to Heptonstall at peak times.

In response to major concerns that the new minibuses proposed won’t be accessible to wheelchair users and parents with prams, Metro has said: “The vehicles proposed by tenderers are under evaluation. Bids offering a higher level of accessibility will receive favourable consideration.”

However, no real-time electronic information will be provided on the reasons for bus delays as it is not possible; there will be no increase in the hourly service to Keighley Road if Service 593 is withdrawn; proposals to reduce the service to the Banksfield and Nest Estates in Mytholmroyd will go ahead because the planned service withdrawals carry fewer than three passengers per journey; and requests to extend operating times to Fairfield and Eaves will not be endorsed because “this could only be done at the expense of other areas where passenger use is greater”.

A Metro spokesperson said: “The points raised are under discussion with First and tendering operators, so there are no firm outcomes to promote yet.”