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New operator takes on ‘lifeline’ 81 bus route following outcry

By John Baron

A lifeline bus service which was axed earlier this month will re-start with a new operator.

Leeds-based bus company CT Plus Yorkshire earlier this month announced the immediate closure of all its services across West Yorkshire following pre-pandemic struggles, Covid-19 lockdowns and rising fuel costs.

Services axed included the 81 and 81A service between Leeds city centre, Old Farnley and Pudsey, which prompted an outcry from bus users in Farnley and Troydale in Pudsey, who depended on the service. Councillors Mark Sewards (Lab, Farnley & Wortley) and Simon Seary (Cons, Pudsey) also raised their concerns.

In an e-mail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority confirmed that the route will be reinstated, with operator SquarePeg now running the service from Monday, 5 September.

A spokesperson said: “I am now able to confirm that we have arranged for SquarePeg (a local bus operator) to take over service 81 from 5 September. This will initially be a slightly reduced timetable (in line with driver availability), but the plan is for the full daytime service to be introduced from 3 October.”

The news was welcomed by Cllr Seary, who said on social media: “I’m extremely pleased to share that the 81 bus service will be returning. When I found out that CT plus was ceasing trading I was in communication with officers from the Combined Authority making them aware how vital this service was out our residents in Troydale, even suggesting alternative routes with the 14 to help the situation. But from the 5th September the service will return.”

WLD has also contacted Cllr Sewards for comment. He had previously expressed his ‘dismay’ at the decision and called for buses to come back under public control.

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