THREE MPs have joined forces in a bid to try and reinstate a bus service that links Bradford, Cleckheaton and Dewsbury, in the light of the “overwhelming strength of feeling” from residents affected.

Batley and Spen’s Tracy Brabin, Bradford South’s Judith Cummins and Dewsbury’s Paula Sherriff have written a joint letter to West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), urging them to fund a replacement service for the 253 bus which was withdrawn in February.

The 253 Dewsbury to Bradford via Cleckheaton service was withdrawn as part of a timetable overhaul after being deemed not commercially viable by bus company Arriva.

WYCA have since rejected calls to fund its reinstatement, with the decision made at a Transport Committee meeting last month.

Ms Brabin has also written separately to Arriva asking the bus company what steps are being taken to address people’s concerns around a number of services following the “impassioned feedback” received at a recent public meeting.

The Batley and Spen MP said: “It’s clear from the overwhelming strength of feeling regarding the 253 that there is a significant demand for this service."

“I’ve had people tell me they are struggling to get to school, college or to important medical appointments without this service and it’s simply not good enough.

“I understand that WYCA’s central government funding for buses has been cut significantly, reducing its ability to subsidise services - but I’d urge them to do what they can in light of such an outcry.

“And this also extends to Arriva, who are the architects of the new timetable. We’ve now had plenty of time for discussion and consideration – the time has come for action.

“Bus companies have a responsibility to provide a public service and it’s imperative they listen to those who rely on buses in their day-to-day lives.”

The joint letter to WYCA adds that: “We are being told that people feel ‘cut off’ by the withdrawal of the service, and fear it will lead to further isolation for those who may not get out often.”

It continues that the consensus among their constituents who have contacted them on the issue is that the 261 is not an adequate replacement service.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “Since the recent Transport Committee meeting, the Combined Authority has been working with Arriva to look at the issues that have arisen as a result of this withdrawal and to identify solutions for those communities most affected.”

Dwayne Wells, of Arriva Yorkshire, said: “Following a consultation exercise with our customers we made some big improvements to many services in North Kirklees, but we have had to make the difficult decision to remove the 253 route.

“The majority of our customers have a direct alternative service, but we do recognise that some customers will need to change buses mid-trip to complete their journey. We continue to engage with the local community to explain the changes and to promote the alternative travel options available."