Your Letters – Friday March 22, 2019

Two hubs is the only logical conclusion

Letter of the Week: Caz Goodwill, Cleckheaton

An open letter to Arriva and Metro:

At the recent meeting in Cleckheaton on Friday March 8, the Arriva representative started by saying that North Kirklees was unusual in not having a single central hub.

He then virtually contradicted himself by saying that Heckmondwike was to be the ‘hub’ of the whole system. This is like trying to push a size nine foot into a size five shoe!

1) It is logistically nonsense to make Heckmondwike the single hub.  Heckmondwike is on the east of the area and is central for Roberttown, Norristhorpe, parts of Liversedge and perhaps Mirfield and Batley and faces naturally towards Dewsbury and Wakefield.

Cleckheaton, however is naturally the hub for Gomersal, Scholes, parts of Liversedge, Hunsworth and East Bierley in the west of the area and flows towards Bradford, Brighouse and Halifax. 

2) Economically it makes sense to use Cleckheaton as one of the hubs as it already has a perfectly good bus station and money would not be required to extend Heckmondwike.

This money could then be used to reinstate the 253 which is so vital to the area.

3) Environmentally it makes no sense to increase bus traffic into Heckmondwike, which has traffic light barriers going both in and out of the town. Buses idling in the congestion to get in and out of the town will increase pollution from their diesel engines. It will also cause problems  keeping to timetables because of the delays.

4) Futureproofing – do Arriva and Metro realise that at least 500 new dwellings are being built or planned in Cleckheaton area this year? To use Cleckheaton Bus Station as a second hub will be necessary with all these new residents and will help to ‘futureproof’ the system.

5) Transport to Greenhead and New College sixth forms. In the wisdom of Kirklees Education, our sixth forms in Cleckheaton and surrounding areas were lost. 

However, why cannot Greenhead and New College put on their own buses for students from this area, as they do for students from Mirfield? 

This would save Arriva and Metro money which can be used to re-instate other much-needed services. 

Surely the logic for Cleckheaton as a second hub for the system is the sensible step for all the above reasons.

Commuters are not the priority

From: Chris Bulmer, Cleckheaton

An open letter to Arriva Yorkshire:

I am writing concerning the recent bus changes in North Kirklees and would like to add my concerns following the public meeting held in Cleckheaton on Friday March 8. 

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting but I share the frustrating experiences of bus users following the overhaul of local services. 

In particular, our household is directly negatively affected by two of these major changes relating to the withdrawal of the X25 and 253 services. 

The X25 motorway service was a fast and reliable commuter bus between Leeds and Cleckheaton, particularly in peak traffic times travelling home from Leeds. 

My experience since the service was axed is one of overcrowded alternative journeys on the 254 or 255 with increased journey times of often well over an hour.

These buses use the same congested route so their regularity is of little convenience. 

There appears to be no logic to the axing of the X25 as it was well used and provided an often traffic-free alternative to the 254/255, especially for those living in Hunsworth or Moorend.

Secondly, the axing of the 253 service has had a hugely detrimental affect on my partner’s ability to travel to and from her evening job for the NHS at Mirfield Health Centre. 

There is now no direct link between Cleckheaton and Mirfield, an inconvenient time-consuming connection via the Heckmondwike Hub and an evening service that ends before 8pm Monday-Saturday, with no Sunday service. 

This means two single-fare journeys or a £5 day ticket simply to get from Cleckheaton to Mirfield and no return journey after 8pm. 

These connections mean a journey of close to an hour from Cleckheaton to Mirfield if both services are running on time. 

I am now often required to transport my partner home from Mirfield after my own time-consuming commute home from work in Leeds. 

When I have observed the new 261 service between Mirfield and Heckmondwike, the evening service has been completely empty on several occasions.

So why create a useless connection to Heckmondwike Hub instead of a bus between Mirfield and Cleckheaton (253)?

My feeling on the increased use of Heckmondwike Hub as a connection point is that it represents a convenient way for Arriva to accommodate driver shift patterns and terminate services to the nearby Heckmondwike depot.

All that we hear in response from Arriva to the concerns of passengers is that there are more buses (although not necessarily going where people want) and certain routes are commercially unviable. 

The priority would appear to be serving shareholders not communities, while in light of the recent changes the £5 daily or £19 weekly travel tickets represent increasingly poor value for money at a time when people are being asked to ditch their cars in favour of public transport. 

I would welcome further responses from Arriva Yorkshire answering and addressing these issues, and look forward to attending the follow-up meeting.

Thank you to our MP Tracy Brabin for voicing these important concerns locally and nationally.

Summer here we come!

From: Alan Greenwood, Batley

On Friday March 29 we are going on holiday to several places in this country and abroad.

The trip will cost us a fiver each, with free tea and biscuits en route.

And we’ll be home in time for News at Ten.

Yes it’s that time of year again, when the best way of banishing the winter blues and looking forward to brighter days ahead is to get yourself down to see Batley Audio Visual Club’s ‘Showcase 2019’.

You really do feel as if you’ve been on a lovely holiday when you’ve had an evening of beautiful photography, entertaining commentary and well-chosen music.

And not only does the programme engage your imagination and refresh your spirit, it also gives you lots of ideas for trips and travel.  

The evening is always a delight. The welcome is warm and the free biscuits usually include my favourite Jammie Dodgers.  

The show is on Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30 at 7.30pm, in the Brimer Hall behind Central Methodist Church in Batley Market Place. I hope to see you there!

Hygiene is so important

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Any of us, at any time, are likely to be carrying some form of infection on our hands.

Even if we have clean hands on leaving home, coughs, colds and a multitude of different germs could have been picked up as soon as we set off on a day out.

If like me, you travel by public transport, you hold the handrails that everyone else has held.

If you shop at a supermarket, you push the same trolleys that everyone else has pushed. You might open a door with the same handle as every other shopper has used.

So from one unwitting person carrying an infection on their hands at the time of boarding a bus, there could be a bus full of people with that infection by the time they all get off, and so it spreads so quickly and easily throughout the day.

The problem gets worse when doing a hospital visit, where there are ill and vulnerable patients who must be protected from any kind of infection that because of their condition, they have a weakened immune system, and can’t fight the infection off.

When entering and again, when leaving where there are ill, weak or vulnerable people, please use the hand sanitiser provided.

We all want to think it’s not our hands that cause the problem, but our hands might look clean, but we can’t see germs, so hand-washing must become a habit, not just after going to the toilet, but as soon as we return home, and always before preparing and eating food.

Disregard for democracy

From: John Jennings, Dewsbury

Some members of Parliament have shown contempt and disregard of the result of a referendum that they promised to respect.

They have demonstrated their opposition to democracy, much like their preferred option of remaining in an anti-democratic European Union.

It beggars belief that at the next General Election these MPs will seek the votes of the people they hold in such contempt.

I predict that some political parties will need different candidates if they want to win the votes of the people.

A town that’s being cut off

From: Barbara Schiff, Mirfield

It seems these days as if the bus companies are trying to cut Mirfield off. 

When we first moved here there were direct buses to Ossett and Wakefield,  Cleckheaton and Bradford and Halifax. 

Now we have none of these services.

I know it is possible to get anywhere by changing buses, but this requires far more strategic planning, especially when some buses only run hourly.

Arriva will probably point out that sometimes the 253 did not have many passengers between Mirfield and Dewsbury. This might have something to do with it coming at the same time as the 203.

If it had been better timed I’m sure it would have been different.

Then we hear there is concern over loneliness and that fewer people are using buses!

Plenty of gloom still about!

From: Graham Turner, Gomersal

‘It’s not all doom and gloom says Labour chief’.

Well tell that to the people who are looking forward to thousands of houses being built around them, if planning permission succeeds. 

Around 4,000 homes could be built on a south Dewsbury site which will spill over the border into Mirfield. 

Up to 127 new homes could be built on former green land in Birkenshaw.

My son and his family live off Mill Forest Way, and are awaiting a planning permission decision on 309 houses and 60 apartments, which will cover green belt land right up to Soothill. 

Traffic pollution, gridlock, infrastructure, wildlife, health, environmental destruction, building on a bridle way and high-risk mined land. With Post Office staff parking all down one side of Mill Forest Way, turning it into one-way, there is plenty of gloom to look forward to.

Quizzing for a great cause

From: Tim Wood, Old Colonial, Mirfield

Preparations are now under way for the organising of the 2019 Remembrance parade and service held in Mirfield each November. 

There are hundreds of facets of information to be pieced together to make the Remembrance ‘jigsaw’ complete. 

Marching bands and music play a massive part of the parade march through Mirfield. 

As you would expect, band equipment from time to time needs renewing and bringing up to the highest standards possible.

One of the many bands that take part is 868 Sqdn ATC (Mirfield), whose steps, timing, carriage and deportment is always of the prestige required.

On Saturday April 6 the Old Colonial pub in conjunction with Mirfield Rifle Volunteers and 868 Sqdn, will be hosting a general knowledge quiz, raffle and auction to raise funds for new band equipment for the Air Cadets Drum Corps.

Tickets are on sale at £6 per head, which includes entry to the quiz and a hot supper.

The quiz usually starts at about 9pm and is open to everyone.

Tickets are available from the Old Colonial and 868 Sqdn, or just ring the pub on 01924 496920 and book your team in and pay on the night.

All of the money spent on tickets will go directly to the band fund, we shall not take any costs for the food.

We would be grateful of any raffle prizes that could be donated, but like all fundraising events we need people to attend to make it a success. 

The future growth and development of organisations such as 868 and the Remembrance parade depends on the kindness and generosity of the public pocket, so please let us make this ‘one of our finest quiz hours’ (pun intended).

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