Labour pair from Otley and Ilkley fight to keep night bus link

Labour candidates for Ilkley and Otley have vowed to campaign to restore an evening service between the two towns.

Bus passengers reacted with fury earlier this year when Metro announced plans to axe the 963 from January, leaving many without an evening service.

Now Labour’s Parliamentary candidates for Ilkley, John Grogan, and Otley, Alex Sobel, have joined the fight to ensure passengers are not left without a service after 7pm.

Alex Sobel said: “We should not forget this loss has come about as a result of Leeds Bradford Airport making a massive cut in the financial support they give to local bus services and I have written asking them to reverse this.

“It is very short sighted that they have done this, given that many of their staff and passengers rely on public transport. Given the sudden loss of subsidy West Yorkshire Metro have decided to preserve an hourly 967 evening and Sunday service between Menston station and Pool via Otley at the expense of the 963. We need good services in Wharfedale from Pool to Ilkley and beyond.”

John Grogan said he had suggested to Metro that instead of running five buses from Menston to Pool each evening, they run three along a longer route from Ilkley via Burley and Menston to Pool and Otley, effectively combining part of the 963 route with the 967.

He said: “My suggestion would use only one minibus across Wharfedale and would cost no additional money. It would have the advantage though of linking all the towns and villages of the area on a similar route in the evenings as they are during the day.

“It would also mean all parts of Ben Rhydding and Burley in Wharfedale would continue to have an evening service.

“I recognise Metro had to act quickly to save what services they could, given the airport’s sudden decision, but I note there is already a bus, the 33, which will be running at almost exactly the same time in the evenings as the 967 between Menston and Otley.

“They are both timed to leave Menston station at half past the hour soon after the train from Leeds arrives. The good news is that I am advised by Metro that they plan a review of supported services in the Ilkley and Otley areas next spring which will allow a more-considered look at services.

“I intend to work with Alex and councillors and parish councils to try and propose a plan for a better service.”

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