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Anger as Leeds Bradford Airport link axed in limited bus service plans
A bus linking Otley, Menston and Pool-in-Wharfedale to the local airport is to stop and be replaced with a cut-down service.
As reported in last week’s newspaper, Leeds-Bradford Airport is ending the £250,000-a-year subsidy it has been providing for the currently half-hourly 967.
The airport has made the decision due to the “very limited” use being made of the bus, which is also funded by Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
Metro says only about 15 people use the service on an average weekday and even less at weekends, equating to a subsidised cost of £7 per passenger.
Such low usage means the organisation cannot justify covering all of the costs of the service itself, so it is proposing a less frequent replacement that will omit the airport altogether and only stop at the outer edge of Pool.
MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) condemned the proposed change as “outrageous”. He said: “The news of the changes to the 967 route are an absolute outrage.
“The changes would seriously affect many in the community, for example those visiting from Otley.
“Metro seriously needs to consult the public on these sincerely damaging proposals.”
Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale), who is urging passengers to let him know what they think about the proposed changes, has concerns.
He said: “This is going to lead to more people using cars – either their own, or taxis – and obviously the chances are they are going to park in a car park next to the airport. So the airport’s revenue will increase.
“If we want to have a sustainable transport system, we need to use buses to get to airports, though I accept it’s hard to know what to do when, as in this instance, the numbers don’t stack up and there aren’t enough people using them.”
Former Metro chairman Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) is concerned about the impact on Pool, where under the plans the bus would only stop beside the Shell garage. He said: “It only just connects Pool. It does not go into the village or serve the sheltered housing complex at Wharfedale Court.”
City councillors in both wards are being asked by Metro – which is looking at introducing the new timetable from the end of January, 2014 – to gather feedback from residents by November 1.
Comments can be sent to Barry.Anderson@leeds.gov.uk or Ryk.Downes@leeds.gov.uk.
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