Campaigners’ victory over bus service

Councillors Faith Heptinstall and Albert Manifield with residents.
Councillors Faith Heptinstall and Albert Manifield with residents.

Campaigners are celebrating after securing a new bus service through Havercroft and Ryhill.

The off-peak 197 route was launched last week and runs between the villages and Hemsworth. It replaces the 196 service, which was scrapped in October.

Crofton Ryhill and Walton councillor Albert Manifield, said: “The new service is excellent news and people have already started using it.

“It has a dedicated driver who is very sociable and friendly.

“When the 196 service stopped, we were concerned about people becoming isolated but now people can get from Havercroft to Hemsworth again to access schools and to do their shopping.

“It also allows people to get from our area to Fitzwilliam where they can then connect to other places. And it gives local people back what was taken from them before.”

Members of the community said they had been left ‘isolated’ after Arriva Yorkshire made changes to the services linking the villages with Hemsworth and Wakefield last October.

Campaigners claimed the alterations, which meant the 193, 194, 195, and 196 routes no longer served Cow Lane, left workers, shoppers and schoolchildren stranded.

Arriva said the changes would enable the remaining services to run on time.

But the campaigners launched a petition and voiced their concerns with Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett at a public meeting.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is now providing financial support for the new 197 service, which is run by Brighouse-based company LOT. It runs from Ryhill Havercroft Green to Hemsworth Bus station.

To see the full timetable, visit www.wymetro.com.

Crofton, Ryhill and Walton councillors Faith Heptinstall, Maureen Cummings and Albert Manifield welcomed the introduction of the new service.

In a joint statement, they said: “We are really pleased that following the withdrawal of the 196 Arriva service to Hemsworth from Havercroft a new 197 service has been provided by a company called LOT.

“This follows strong representation at a public meeting to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority by local community members, councillors and Jon Trickett our MP.

“We have all been able to work together to achieve what we feel will be a really good community-based service.

“We thank officers from the WYCA, Jon Trickett and our local communities for the continued support throughout.”