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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Buses: contract awarded following the consultation

Dave Pearson, Assistant Director Transport Services for Metro, has written to Jae Campbell, neighbourhood co-ordinateur, giving details of the results of the bus consultation.

Following the consultation we carried out during the summer and the subsequent tendering exercise, we are now in a position to update you regarding the Hebden Bridge Bus Review

Metro will award a contract to TLC Travel for the operation of the "Hebden Bridger" and Todmorden local bus networks. TLC Travel will provide a fleet of new "Optare Solo" buses, effectively the same type and size of bus currently in operation. During the consultation, there were a number of concerns about the capacity and accessibility of replacement buses. Hopefully this will allay these concerns.

TLC Travel Ltd is a Bradford based company who currently operate a range of services under contract with Metro including rural services in the Worth Valley and around Otley, urban services in Shipley, Keighley, and North Kirklees together with Metro's AccessBus service in Bradford. The company are planning to open a depot in the Upper Calder Valley.

TLC Travel will commence operation of the services from 26 January 2014. The current red and white buses will transfer to TLC and may remain in service for a brief period pending the deployment of the new buses.

First has confirmed to Metro its intention to withdraw completely services 591 and 593 from Heptonstall and Old Town and to operate a service every 10 minutes between Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Halifax. Therefore the routes and timetables for the Hebden Bridger network will largely be those upon which we consulted during the summer. Whilst we will make some minor changes to reflect consultation comments and we will document how and why changes to the original proposals have been made.

The Todmorden local network is less radically affected by the changes. The current routes will continue to operate however it is necessary to withdraw some poorly used journeys on evenings and on Sundays.

Metro and all of the bus operators in the area are in discussions regarding through ticketing proposals and we hope to be able to advise on this before Christmas.

The consultation page on our website will be updated with links to the revised timetables for both Hebden Bridge and Todmorden within the next week.

The revised routes and timetables must be formally registered by the end of November therefore the final date for making any further comments to Metro on these services will be 15 January 2013.

The revised Hebden Bridger network involves the inclusion of an additional bus to the three currently in daily operation. This will enable us to maintain a half hourly frequency to Heptonstall and Old Town to partly compensate for the withdrawal of 591 and 593. The additional resource comes at a financial cost which may not be sustainable unless passenger use increases. Metro will provide the four bus operation on a trial basis until August 2015. If after the first full year's operation, passenger use has not increased, Metro will consult on a revised network reverting to three buses.

The consultation in Hebden Bridge has stimulated a dialogue with bus users in the area and it would be useful to maintain this following the introduction of the revised services . Metro is keen to pilot a Community Bus Partnership approach where Metro, the bus operator and a group of bus users meet periodically to review aspects of the service. We will be contacting you further to explore this approach further.

I am happy for the above text to be posted on Hebweb.

Whilst we have not been able to address all of the issues and concerns raised during the consultation, I am pleased that we are able to place the Hebden Bridger and Todmorden local bus networks on a stable footing for the foreseeable future. My colleagues Neale Wallace and Clare Davies will assist you in the next stages of implementation of these changes. My own involvement will reduce as I am shortly to be seconded to the team managing the Tour de France.

From Dave Pearson

Previously, on the HebWeb

HebWeb News: Buses: Labour candidate takes bus boss for a ride 17 September 2013

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridger Action Group formed following public meeting 15 August 2013

HebWeb Forum: Metro Bus Service Consultation July-August 2013

HebWeb Forum: Proposed Bus Changes (April-May 2013)

HebWeb Forum: Bus problems, again (Nov 2012 - Feb 2013)

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge Bus Services Consultation, over proposed changes from April 2013

HebWeb Forum: Hebden Bridger bus problems again! (February-September 2012 - 139 messages)