ANGER has greeted cuts to bus services between Keighley town centre and Long Lee, Laycock and Highfield.

Furious residents who take their children to and from village schools claim they have been badly hit by the reduction from two to one bus an hour.

A school head and local councillors are among those who have called for the original timetables to be reinstated.

But the Keighley Bus Company, part of Transdev Blazefield, said it had been forced to reduce the services because not enough people were using them.

Although weekend and evening services are unchanged, the weekday K1 bus through Highfield to Laycock and the K5 bus to Thwaites Brow and Long Lee has been reduced from half-hourly to hourly.

Transdev runs the service commercially because there is no subsidy available for such daytime services from West Yorkshire public transport body Metro.

In a letter to Transdev, Laycock Primary School head Juliet Nove said the school day had been organised around the original K1 timetable because a significant number of parents use it to transport children to and from school.

She wrote: “The majority live on the Braithwaite estate. It is a long way for four-year-olds to walk to and from school, particularly in the driving rain or biting winds we get here in Laycock.

“Altering the timetable will mean that many parents will struggle to get their children to school on time, and in particular pick them up at the end of the day.”

Laycock resident Val Watkinson claimed the only alternative offered for the Highfield residents, the K2 Braithwaite bus, would involve them walking unacceptable distances in bad weather with heavy shopping or pushchairs.

She said: “The changes have shocked and distressed pensioners, disabled persons and parents with young children who rely on this service.”

Dorothy Granger, of Long Lee, feared that the reduced K5 service would mean buses having to leave passengers behind because they had filled up.

Cllr Malcolm Slater, who represents Keighley East ward on Bradford Council, this week said: “The change of the K5 service is of great concern to those of the thousand-plus households in Long Lee and Thwaites Brow who depend on it, especially at peak times of the day.”

Fellow Keighley East councillor Caroline Firth said she had put the residents’ issues to Transdev, but since it was a private company she could not change its mind.

She added: “Transdev is willing to keep monitoring the usage of the services and make a decision. I would urge residents to use the buses more so we can increase the figures and show it’s a service that’s needed.”

Alan Isherwood, general manager of Transdev Blazefield said there had been a fall in the number of people using people using Keighley Jets K1 and K5.

He said: “This is obviously disappointing, given the multi-million pound investments we have made in our network, but we can no longer afford to run the current timetable on these routes.

“Reducing the number of buses we run is always a last resort. But unfortunately with fewer trips into the town centre being made, we have to take action.”