First Bus Leeds: Outraged residents fear being 'cut off' as bus services in Farsley set to be slashed

Residents of Farsley fear being “cut off” ahead of a raft of First Bus timetable changes due to come into effect from this weekend.
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First Bus are due to introduce a wave of fresh changes to Leeds services from Sunday (April 2) which includes the rerouting of the 508 service connecting Halifax to Leeds

Despite named as an ‘up and coming area’ to watch in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in 2021, local residents now fear that Farsley and Pudsey are both now at risk of being cut off with just the longer 16 route directly linking the town to the Leeds city centre.

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Retired town planner Philippa Simpson, who uses the buses regularly as part of her day to day life, now fears that residents will find it much harder to reach Leeds city centre without the use of a car.

First Bus are due to introduce a wave of fresh changes to Leeds services from Sunday. Picture: James HardistyFirst Bus are due to introduce a wave of fresh changes to Leeds services from Sunday. Picture: James Hardisty
First Bus are due to introduce a wave of fresh changes to Leeds services from Sunday. Picture: James Hardisty

She said: “The 508 service from Halifax to Leeds, takes the direct route into Leeds from Farsley via Kirkstall Shopping Centre if you are commuting and going to school, going to college or just into the city centre in general it’s now going to be much harder.

“First Bus are withdrawing six bus services in Leeds while a further seven services frequencies are being slashed. Why is Farsley taking such a disproportionate reduction? It’s cutting us off.”

The number 9 service, which connects Horsforth to the White Rose, had been under threat but has now been offered a late lifeline with independent company Yorkshire Buses agreeing to take on the service on a trial period.

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There is growing concern that the withdrawal of some services and a frequency reduction on others will lead to an increase in car travel.

Philippa added: “Council have that slogan which I think is silly ‘Leeds where you don’t need a car’ but Leeds is well known for being the worst of its size in Europe for public transport.

"It only has a limited suburban rail network and no tram network and after these cuts I think people will definitely be using their car more. I certainly will be.”

A spokesperson for First Bus confirmed that they keep performance under constant review but that cuts were simply unavoidable due to the change in many travel habits following the pandemic.

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They said: “Unfortunately, there are a very small number of journeys that have continued with passenger levels well below that required to even cover costs and cannot be retained. Regrettably, this does include some in the West Leeds area.

“The rerouting of the 508 service along Stanningley Bypass will mean improved reliability overall for this long journey, but we are reviewing the potential to serve Calverley Lane with some daytime trips using another service to help limit the change for Farsley.

"Our 16 service provides good connectivity into Leeds from Farsley Cenotaph, although uses Intake Lane, which we accept might be less convenient for some residents. We remain in discussion with the Combined Authority in keeping the network under review, taking a balanced approach to focus resources where demand is needed most.”