Bus fiasco reaches end of the road

Richard Lyon took this photo of the 9.50am Tyrer bus en route to Hebden Bridge on Tuesday May 22 which met a lorry on Wadsworth Lane, Old Town
Richard Lyon took this photo of the 9.50am Tyrer bus en route to Hebden Bridge on Tuesday May 22 which met a lorry on Wadsworth Lane, Old Town

BUS bosses have pledged to up their game after plans for free journeys for passengers in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Blackshaw hit an early stumbling block.

Operator Metro last week trumpeted the fact that it would provide free travel on a number of services that had been dogged by complaints. But by Tuesday their plans were in chaos because a shortage of vehicles meant most of the free journeys had to be cancelled.

Angry passengers had previously bombarded the operator with complaints after buses run by Lancashire-based Tyrer failed to turn up on numerous occasions.

According to Calder Ward councillor Janet Battye, the company was frank about the problems when representatives attended the ward forum in Hebden Bridge on Tuesday. Metro’s assistant director of transport services Dave Pearson and Coun David Hardy, one of Calderdale Council’s representatives on the Integrated Transport Authority, admitted there had been problems with Tyrer and that the situation had deteriorated. Tyrer stopped providing the subsidised service last week, with First taking over on Monday.

Coun Battye said: “They told us that while First were checking out the buses before they put them back on the road, Metro tried to provide a free bus service using Calderdale Community Transport. But while this worked on Sunday and Monday, Community Transport, who use a mix of paid and volunteer drivers, couldn’t run it on Tuesday.”

Mr Pearson gave assurances that the service should be running as normal by next week, with some minor timetable changes.

“I am pleased that Dave Pearson was so apologetic about the problems with the local service over the last few months and, in particular, the breakdown in the service entirely this week despite their best efforts,” said Coun Battye.

“It was important that he heard from local people but it is even more important that Metro should ensure that these valued local bus services are regular and reliable.” A Metro spokesman said: “We hope to have everything running as timetabled by the end of the week, in time for First to fully take over the contract.”

Tyrer have declined to comment.