Labour MP Alex Sobel organised a public meeting with First Bus Leeds in Headingley in February. Otley residents who attended were concerned about the unreliability of the First Bus X84 and X85 service between Otley and Leeds, and the 33 and 34 services linking Otley to rail services at Menston station.

A further public meeting with First Leeds is planned in Wharfedale, so the local Labour campaign team have been out canvassing wider opinions from First Bus service users who live in Otley.

“I had to take some documents to Leeds urgently. I try never to drive into Leeds because of the air pollution that cars are causing, but I waited 25 minutes and the scheduled X84 bus didn’t come, so I had to run home to get my car.”

Shannon Coles, Albion Street, Otley

“I was on the way home to Otley from seeing my Mum with my children, and we got stranded at Leeds Bus Station in the evening – the very last bus was cancelled. First Bus told me I could get a taxi and I’d be reimbursed, but we had our dog with us and taxis don’t take dogs. We had to walk to the train station and then walk all the way home from Menston. This happened twice. Now when we go to see my Mum we never stay to tea.”

Tara Sykes, Otley resident

“My husband and I work in Leeds but our child is at an Otley nursery. We kept on being late to collect her because of unreliable buses so now we have had to buy a car.”

Otley resident who asked not to be named.

Labour candidate Elliot Nathan doesn’t own a car and relies on the X84 service to get to and from work in Leeds.

 “I regularly use the buses between Leeds and Otley for work and leisure and I often experience late, missing and broken down buses. I am now seriously considering buying a car. At a time when Otley’s population is expanding, we need more than ever a public transport network that is reliable and fairly priced. It seems to me the private bus companies can’t do this, they are forcing Otley people into cars.” 

Elliot Nathan, Labour candidate for Otley and Yeadon

Update: Alex Sobel MP has arranged a public meeting with First Bus in Otley, at Otley Courthouse on Thursday 4th April, from 5.30 to 7pm. More information here in a short Wharfedale Observer article.

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