Driffield NewsNEWS

Negative response to new twice-weekly bus service

Passengers were all aboard as the new twice-weekly Driffield town bus service started its journeys around the Capital of the Wolds and its surrounding area.

However, when the Wolds Weekly ventured out last Thursday, with the rain lashing down, on the whole there was a negative response to the service, with suggestions that the bus is too small, inaccessible and inadequate.

As previously reported, there has been widespread consternation among passengers who used the 530 since news broke that cuts were being made to the service.

In all honesty, it’s rubbish. It’s too small and the steps are far too high and it’s horrendous to get on.

norah baxter

Acklams had funded the service under operator BusKing, five days per week, giving people living outside Driffield’s town centre a ‘lifeline’, bringing them onto the high street and back home again.

However, Acklams removed itself a year early from its contract and the new town bus service now runs exclusively on a Tuesday and Thursday.

The 16-seat bus, a reduction on the BusKing service, is now operated by North Holderness Community Transport (HART).

The HART bus sets off from George Street at 9:25am on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will call at Wansford Road, The Mount, George Street for a second time, Skerne Road, Auchinleck Close (once per day), Camelia Close, Mill Falls, Little Driffield and York Road before terminating at George Street.

Woodland Rise, Highfield Avenue, Greenways, Greenlands, Mill Falls and Bracken Road are all ‘hail and ride’, with passengers required to put their hand out for the driver to stop.

The Wolds Weekly visited the stops on George Street and Mill Falls to gauge early reaction to the new service.

Waiting in the driving rain to catch the bus on Mill Falls were Norah Baxter, Kay Stothard, Marion Roebuck and Margery English.

One of the group’s main concerns was the 16-seats which, on days when the bus is well-used, could see it full to capacity by the time it arrives at Mill Falls.

“In all honesty, it’s rubbish,” said Norah. “It’s too small and the steps are far too high and it’s horrendous to get on.

“The doorway is also too narrow for people to get on. Anyone who has a trolley also has a problem as either the driver or someone else has to get off and put it on for them.

“The size of the bus also means that not everyone can get on and I’ve already heard of people being left at the bus stop.

“Two days just isn’t enough. We shouldn’t be prisoners for five days every week. I also think the shops will suffer as the people who use the bus won’t be able to use them as often.”

Kay added: “With it being half-term, my grandson would normally come on the bus with me.

“However, I’ve had to tell him today that he can’t as I don’t want to take up someone else’s seat.

“We can’t afford to get a taxi on the days the bus doesn’t run or if it is full when it arrives at our stop. £4.50 each way is too expensive.

“We used to enjoy going into town, having a coffee and seeing our friends but we’re now restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“It’s very hard getting up and down the steps and I must commend the driver, who has been very helpful and it’s not his fault at all.”

On George Street, whilst the passengers were not completely happy with the new service, the people we spoke to did concede that having the current service was better than not having one at all. However, similar concerns were raised.

“I found the bus very comfortable when I used it,” said one gentleman who wished to remain anonymous.

“However, it’s very awkward for anyone who is not mobile to get on it up the three steps.

“When I used the bus last Tuesday afternoon, it wasn’t very busy, which is normal for that time of day.

“However, it needs to operate more than twice a week.”

Another passenger, who also remained anonymous, added: “With the driver and his assistant, who I presume won’t be on the bus all the time, the capacity is currently down to 14 seats.

“Today (27th October), is the first time I have used the bus and it is better than nothing.

“I have heard reports of some people being unable to get on at Mills Falls, where previously around 20 passengers would get on and off.

“Lots of people are panicking now because they aren’t sure whether there will be space for them.

“With the bus only running on Tuesdays and Thursdays, people will need to make appointments on those days, but it’s hard enough as it is already.”

Lateness and unreliability was also an issue highlighted by Driffield resident Margaret Johnson, who address her concerns when she popped into the Wolds Weekly office.

“On Tuesday 25th, I was all set to go to town on the new bus,” said Margaret.

“The bus was due to arrive at 10am. First, it turned up late and it was full, so I returned home.

“I had another attempt to get the 11am bus, but after waiting at least 15 minutes, I went home.

“I had another attempt for the 12 noon bus, but I found later on, it was even later.

“Again, I tried for the 2pm bus, but a neighbour was on the way into town and offered me a ride, so I accepted.

“I will try again on Thursday. I hope the weather is better. Standing waiting in the rain is not a good plan when you are 93.”

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