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Councillor’s warning over ‘vulnerable’ bus routes

A Farnley & Wortley councillor has warned that lifeline bus routes will remain ‘vulnerable’ until they are brought back under public control.

Councillor Mark Sewards (Lab, Farnley & Wortley) has spoken out after West Yorkshire Combined Authority found another operator for the number 81 bus route between Leeds city centre, Old Farnley and Pudsey.

The route was axed when Leeds-based bus company CT Plus Yorkshire earlier this month announced the immediate closure of all its services due to pre-pandemic struggles, Covid-19 lockdowns and rising fuel costs.

As reported by WLD last week, operator SquarePeg has agreed to run the service from Monday, 5 September. There will initially be a slightly reduced timetable due to the lack of driver availability, but the plan is for the full daytime service to be introduced from 3 October.

Concern: Cllr Mark Sewards

Cllr Sewards said: “It is a huge relief for residents that the 81 bus route is returning. I’m delighted that mayor Tracy Brabin’s team were able to secure this and I would like to thank them for listening to both me and the residents I represent throughout the negotiations with local operators.

“The decision does not change my view that our buses need to be brought back under public control. Until we secure this fundamental change, bus routes and operators will continue to be vulnerable as profit is prioritised over passengers.

“I will continue to lobby Mayor Brabin both for this change and for improvements to the bus network in Farnley and Wortley.”

The reinstatement of the service was last week welcomed by Councillor Simon Seary (Cons, Pudsey) who had also lobbied West Yorkshire Combined Authority on the issue following concerns from bus users in Troydale that they would be cut off by the withdrawal of the service.

The new timetable for the 81 can be found below:

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