Passengers want axed Pontefract to Castleford bus service back

Bus operator Arriva dropped the 134 after concluding it was not profitable.
Bus operator Arriva dropped the 134 after concluding it was not profitable.

Bus passengers are campaigning to have an axed service reinstated.

Around 150 people have signed a petition asking for the old 134 bus, which ran between Pontefract and Castleford town centres, to be put back on the road.

Castleford councillor Tony Wallis presented the petition on behalf of residents.

Castleford councillor Tony Wallis presented the petition on behalf of residents.

The service was run by M-Travel until May 2017, when the company had its licence revoked over concerns that it wasn't servicing its vehicles properly and putting passengers at risk.

Arriva briefly picked up the service but then decided it was not commercially viable earlier this year.

As a result, people living in the Park Road area of Glasshoughton have been left feeling isolated from Castleford, despite being on the main road north into the town.

Although Arriva's 411 bus ferries passengers between Pontefract and Castleford, that service avoids Park Road and instead travels by the Xscape retail outlet on the other side of Glasshoughton.

Another service, the 187, does travel between Park Road and Castleford, but only via Airedale, to the east.

The petition was put forward to Arriva and regional transport bosses by Castleford councillor Tony Wallis at a meeting on Thursday.

Coun Wallis said: "What people are saying is ideally they'd like the reinstatement of the 134.

"They point out that for all the traffic that goes between Pontefract town centre and Castleford town centre, there's no direct bus service.

"Failing that solution, they want the 411 to be diverted so that it goes along Park Road."

Neale Wallace, from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), said the petition would be taken to senior officials in the new year and considered.

The regional body can decide to fund a service themselves if they deem it "socially necessary" and no operator deems it profitable.

Mr Wallace said: "I've read the petition and from the comments it's quite clear there's quite a large amount of the community that are mobility impaired.

"We'll sit down with Arriva and see if any sort of solution can be put in place.

"I'd say the chances of a half hourly service is pretty remote, but if we can provide any sort of access through to Castleford from that streets, that's maybe something we can look at."

Arriva representative Kim Purcell said that the company would try to address people's concerns.

Explaining why the 134 service had been dropped in the first place she said: "We couldn't make it commercially viable unfortunately. As a large operator it wasn't possible for us to do.

"We don't have a solution at the moment, but that's not to say that we're not willing to sit down and try and find one."

Suggesting that the 187 service through Airedale might remain a better alternative for passengers on Park Road however, she added: "There is a lot of congestion on the main road through to Castleford, and so sometimes a simple diversion can make it a lot easier because it avoids the traffic.

"But we're happy to see what we can do."