Boxing Day bus service to run again

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A Boxing Day bus service which ran for the first time due to pressure from campaigners will run again this year.

Last year Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke, local bus campaigner Paul Kirby and ward councillors persuaded Metro, the West Yorkshire Transport Authority, to fund a new Wetherby bus service to Leeds on Boxing Day.

It was such a success that the service will run again this year. Paul said: “We are delighted that it was so popular with people going to the sales in Leeds and race-goers coming to the town for the races.

“It was especially pleasing that some village councils, shops, the racecourse and Wetherby Business Association contributed to publicising the new service, since neither Metro nor the bus company First advertised this new service with a different timetable to normal.

“There was no printed information at all so we designed and our own leaflet and had 5,000 printed. And I put posters up at bus stops.”

He added: “For this year’s service I suggested to Metro and First bus to make the service a normal Sunday one but finishing early.

“That would save a lot of time and trouble for everyone but it was not taken up.

But this good news is tempered by the fact that the 780 Wetherby to Knaresborough has been reduced by half this month. The buses run every two hours now instead of hourly.

Harrogate Coach Travel (Connexions) tried some imaginative timetabling with through buses to Harrogate but this was not successful.

The bus cuts have come as North Yorkshire County Council needs to reduce funding and wants to find another half a million-pound reduction in subsidy next year as well.

The X98 on Boxing Day is an hourly double-decker service to and from Leeds, and runs from 10am to 5pm, the same as last year.

The journey takes the most direct route along the A58, taking only 45 minutes. An all day ticket costs £3.50 (£1 for children with a Young Persons photocard), is valid on all services in Leeds and includes two children travelling free. A single ticket to Leeds costs £2.