Councillor Matt Edwards, the leader of the Green Party group on Bradford Council and the national transport spokesperson for the party, has voiced his concerns over the proposed timeline for improving bus services. While he welcomes the plans to bring buses back under public control, Councillor Edwards emphasises the need for immediate action to reverse service cuts.
“The Mayor’s continuous discussions about taking control of buses have offered little solace to bus users who are in dire need of tangible improvements,” says Councillor Edwards. “We don’t require promises or timetables for future announcements; what we need is real action right now.”
Councillor Edwards criticises the Mayor for being more focused on photo opportunities and grand proclamations than on delivering immediate enhancements for the public. He cites the recent pledge on franchising and the introduction of flat £2 bus fares last year as examples of promises that have fallen short in terms of actual impact.
“Offering cheaper tickets and promising greater public control at some undetermined point in the future is of no use when private bus operators are currently slashing services,” adds Councillor Edwards.
Drawing attention to the service cuts affecting the 508 route, which traverses the outskirts of his represented area, Councillor Edwards urges the Mayor to intervene and collaborate to reinstate regular services with First, the bus operator. These reductions are already significantly affecting commuters, students, and individuals seeking an active social life.
The 508 service provides a direct connection from Leeds City Centre to Halifax via the South of Bradford. Earlier this year, First Bus reduced its frequency from every half hour to once per hour.
“The communities in BD4, which I represent, have some of the lowest rates of car ownership in Bradford, making the 508 route a vital link to both Leeds and Halifax without the need for a lengthy detour through Bradford City Centre,” explains Councillor Edwards. “Residents from South Bradford and the edge of Calderdale have shown their support for this petition by signing it.”
As the cost of living continues to rise, buses should serve as an affordable means of transportation, eliminating the need for costly petrol and parking charges. Councillor Edwards expresses disappointment that the privatised bus network prioritises bus companies’ profits over providing high-quality and regular bus services.
A Holmewood resident who endorsed the petition stated, “This bus service not only enables workers, pensioners, and young people to easily travel to Leeds or Halifax but also to other destinations along the route, such as Asda on Rooley Lane or Thornbury.”
The petition, which aims to restore the frequency of the 508 service, has gained considerable support, amassing 800 signatures thus far.
The petition is available at: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/dont-cut-the-508/