Accident hotspots in West Yorkshire can cause delays “completely out of anyone’s control,” a bus chief has said.
Jon Croxford, area managing director at Arriva Yorkshire, said that traffic congestion is the main source of disruption which leads to commuter woes.
If there is an incident on Armley Gyratory we can get buses running up to an hour late which are out of anyone’s control.Jon Croxford
YEP readers have shared stories about Arriva services being late and only providing a “half service”.
Mandy O’Connor, a customer of the company, said: “I’m regularly late for work and taking a long time to get home.”
Mr Croxford responded: “In terms of reliability of services we absolutely recognise that it of foremost concern.
“In January and February this year we’ve had the best [service] for punctuality for over five years and that’s despite challenges with traffic congestion.
“The main issues are around traffic and not necessarily around predictable traffic.”
Although Arriva runs services across West Yorkshire, Mr Croxford said that Leeds is a hotspot for areas which create delays.
“If there’s an incident at Armley Gyratory we can get buses running up to an hour late which are completely out of anyone’s control.”
Kirklees routes can also be affected by road accidents.
“None of our buses go on the M62 but if something happens on there that can cause delays.”
Vicky Young uses the Wakefield to Wetherby 174 service.
She said: “Why is this only half a service? It can get commuters to Wetherby for 8.45am but the last bus of the day leaves Wetherby at 15.30 so it’s no good for working people.”
Mr Croxford said that particular service was one run by Arriva on behalf of West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“The timetable we operate on that service is dictated by the contract.”
But he said that when the company designs its network it always speaks to customers to get their point of view.
He added that at the back end of last year the company introduced a late service between Wakefield and Leeds.
“Twenty years ago there were night services in Leeds but they’ve disappeared over the years.”
He said those kinds of routes could potentially be rolled out again if there was enough demand.
On the subject of fare increases, Mr Croxford said he believes “we do offer excellent value.
“It’s not just how much money you are paying it’s the value you can get for that price.”
He thinks that the company’s day-rider style “mobile ticket” gives people greater flexibility to decide where their journey starts.
In terms of customer satisfaction, Mr Croxford added that Arriva frequently reviewed its performance and research had shown it had a 94 per cent approval rating with passengers. “We are grateful for any feedback. We are passionate about improving the service we provide. We don’t get it right every time so we are always keen to hear when we don’t.”