CHANGES to bus services this December will cause ‘further hardship’ to passengers in Otley and Yeadon.

That is the claim being made by local councillors about a new timetable for the 33/34 bus which is due to take effect from Sunday, December 8.

Following the changes the 34, which runs from Otley to Yeadon via Menston train station, will be reduced from three to two buses per hour. Councillors Sandy Lay, Ryk Downes and Colin Campbell (all Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) believe that represents a damaging cut.

Cllr Lay said: “Currently the 34 service runs three times an hour between Otley, Yeadon and Leeds. From December this will be cut to two an hour. Timings will also be revised with no clear journey pattern, which will make it difficult for residents without a timetable to know when a bus will arrive.”

Cllr Campbell said: “Not only do the cuts impact on journeys to and from Leeds they will also reduce the link to Menston railway station, which is extensively used by residents travelling to Leeds and Bradford.”

Cllr Downes added: “Despite promises this is yet another cut in services and we have written to the Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee calling for an urgent meeting to ask why there has been no public consultation.

“Local residents deserve a better service than they are currently receiving from First Bus and WYCA, and the changes will cause further hardship and put more cars on the road”.

There will also be changes to X84/85’s timetable from December 8.

Responding to the criticisms, First West Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Martin Hirst said: “We monitor and review the bus network on an ongoing basis to make best use of resources to meet customer demand and to improve service punctuality.

“We receive regular feedback from customers about inconsistent punctuality on the X84. I’m pleased to confirm we are introducing a revised timetable on this Leeds-Otley/Ilkley service on December 8 to improve punctuality for customers at peak times. From December 8 we are also revising the 33/34 in the Guiseley and Otley area to better reflect customer demand.

“The revised 34 service daytime pattern will mean two buses per hour between Otley and Leeds and two buses per hour between Yeadon and Leeds.

“The daytime service 33 will provide two buses per hour between Guiseley and Leeds.

“As part of this review of frequency, we have also revised the timetable to improve journey punctuality. We will continue to provide a common daytime frequency of six buses per hour between Leeds and Rawdon Crossroads.We will monitor changes and continue to review customer comments.”