‘A VICTORY for common sense’.

That is how local councillors have hailed a decision to restore stops between Weetwood and Leeds on the X84 bus service.

First Leeds ended all the stops as part of a trial, designed to help maintain social distancing capacity, that began on June 1.

The changes drew widespread criticism with one passenger - who started a petition - slamming them as ‘bonkers’. Now First, after analysing the results of the trial, has announced that the X84 will begin picking up and dropping off passengers at bus stops between Weetwood Police Station and Leeds Bus Station again from Sunday, July 12.

Bramhope & Carlton Parish Council, which wrote to First Leeds about the issue last week, declaring that ‘common sense has prevailed’.

Ward Councillors Sandy Lay, Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes (all Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) agree. Cllr Lay said: “This proposal raised a lot of controversy because it meant that to access Headingley or the university Otley, Pool and Bramhope residents had to use two buses. This had an impact with some people facing employment issues because it was not possible to get to work.”

Cllr Campbell said: “Along with a number of other people we raised the issue with First...and we are pleased to say the stops are now to be restored.”

Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) said: “I really welcome the return of the service proper. This is a victory for common sense. It will be good news for all of those who were impacted by the restricted stops and were trying to access facilities along the route.”

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) said: “I am delighted our campaign to reinstate the Headingley stops on the X84 has been successful.

"I have been in touch with First regularly to pass on feedback from constituents and to underline how difficult these changes would be for those commuting from Otley and Bramhope to Headingley."

First Leeds has also announced it will be re-introducing a link between Skipton and Otley as a separate service to replace the X84/X85 shared link - with the 784 operating from Monday, July 13 with an hourly, Monday to Friday, service.

Cllr Downes said: “This will mean the service can be more reliable because delays to the X84/5 will not have a knock-on effect.”

Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, Martin Hirst, said: “We have more than a month’s worth of data which has helped us to understand that, while we had concerns over capacity with the opening up of some retail during June, we haven’t seen a significant impact along the corridor and so are able to bring the bus stops back into use. We will continue to keep this under review as further lockdown restrictions are lifted and as we need to take into account any changes.”