Campaign to bring back Calderdale’s abolished ‘lifeline’ bus service

Greetland and Stainland councilors want the 539 service, which connects Stainland to West Vale, restored.

The issue was raised at a full Calderdale Council meeting by Councilor Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) and Councilor Felicity Issott (Con, Ryburn), both urging the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) – which subsidizes certain services – to lobby operator first.

A petition has been launched

Councilor Holdsworth said: ‘The reason given for scrapping the service was that the route was not financially viable.

“However, First makes very big profits and receives a lot of public money to subsidize bus services.

“Surely they could have continued to provide this service, even at a reduced level.”

At the full council, Councilor Bellenger said that even if a full service was not financially possible – for example in the evening – a reduced service at crucial times could be performed.

“This service is a vital link, the only link that actually takes people from Stainland to West Vale where they have access to doctors, dentists and other businesses,” he said.

“This bus connection is a lifesaver for many people and schoolchildren also take the West Vale bus home.”

Councilor Issott, also referring to other affected services including Rishworth in her ward, said the proposed bus strategy in West Yorkshire is committed to getting people access to healthcare, education and jobs and that these cuts did the opposite.

Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Adviser Jane Scullion (Laboratory, Luddenden Foot) agreed.

The bus companies were commercial and some routes had to be subsidized by the WYCA, with problems recruiting drivers adding to the problems.

WYCA could not subsidize all the roads that commercial companies wanted to cut.

“But I’m okay with the Stainland bus and we really need to see what we can do about it,” Councilor Scullion said.

Talks are ongoing with WYCA and the bus companies, she said.

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