'Bus services unable to keep pace with housebuilding' in Wakefield

A report last year said that young people were being held back in the jobs market because of poor service in parts of the Wakefield district.
A report last year said that young people were being held back in the jobs market because of poor service in parts of the Wakefield district.

Bus services have been unable to keep up with rapid housing growth in the Wakefield district, it's been suggested.

Regional transport chiefs are set to meet the Department of Work and Pensions this week to discuss the current state of bus provision in West Yorkshire.

Some new areas of "rapid" housing growth are yet to see adequate public transport, it's been suggested. Picture by Wakefield Council.

Some new areas of "rapid" housing growth are yet to see adequate public transport, it's been suggested. Picture by Wakefield Council.

The meeting has been arranged amid frustrations, expressed by some local politicians, that some areas which have seen sharp increases in jobs and houses are still not being well connected by public transport.

It follows a report last year that said young people in Wakefield were being cut off from employment and training because of poor bus services.

Speaking at a regional transport committee meeting on Friday, Wakefield Labour councillor Kevin Swift said: "There is a problem with people being able to get public transport from some areas of deprivation, particularly in the former coalfield areas of the district.

"It is a major issue in Wakefield in the sense of being people being able to access employment from some of the smaller and medium-sized communities outside of the city centre."

In response, Arriva representative Dwayne Wells said that Section 106 money, which is paid to councils by developers when they build houses to fund new infrastructure, could help with putting on new services.

The company also said that it was having to put new vehicles onto the network just to honour existing timetables because of increasing congestion on West Yorkshire's roads.

Committee chair Councillor Kim Groves said: "In Wakefield, there has been rapid growth in housing and people do need to get to work.

"It has caused significant problems.

"We've got a meeting with Department of Work and Pensions next week because we need to look at the whole operation on this."

In an interview last year, Arriva's Yorkshire's then-managing director said that the bus industry had endured a "challenging" few years, but that the company had responded by making things better for local passengers.

Local Democracy Reporting Service