A lifeline West Leeds bus service has been axed in order to meet passenger demand across the network during the Coronavirus pandemic – bus giant First has said.
As reported by WLD on Friday, bus users have criticised the cancellation of the number 35 Leeds to Greengates bus, which runs up Kirkstall Road and acts as a lifeline for people living in Rodley and Calverley.
Brandon Jones, Head of External Relations (First Bus – North of England), said the company is committed to serving the ‘best interests’ of customers in Rodley and Calverley. He said:
“The change is driven by the need to meet passenger demand across the network as we continue to adapt to the capacity limitations that keep our customers and staff safe.
“As we are now operating at practically 100% of pre-Covid mileage, we continue to do our best to balance resource and ensure we can carry the maximum number of passengers. Whilst the number of Bus Full incidents is very low, we are clearly keen to ensure customers are not left wherever possible. This has led to the reallocation of resource in a number of areas such as school duplicates and corridors with high passenger demand, such as Headingley.
“The change reflects this ongoing response to allocate resource where it is most needed and takes into account relatively low passenger numbers on service 35 (majority of trips are single figures) as well as the fact the Leeds-Kirkstall corridor is well served by alternative services 33/ 34, 60, 508 and A1.
“We appreciate the 35 service (pre-Covid) served passengers beyond Kirkstall in Rodley & Calverley and we will continue to discuss such connectivity and the wider Leeds network opportunities with West Yorkshire Combined Authority in the best interests of our passengers and communities.”
Local residents say they have been left with an irregular service and Calverley and Farsley councillor Peter Carlill (Lab) on Friday labelled the announcement as ‘deeply disappointing’. He said he would work with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to come up with a long-term solution.