Campaigners in favour of a free shuttle bus for Bradford city centre have blasted a Council decision to delay the date the plan will be reassessed.

This summer, the Council decided to put the service - and a free pilot scheme - on hold for six months, with a pledge the scheme would be re-examined in December.

But a meeting of Bradford Older People's Alliance (BOPA) yesterday heard the Council had put its decision back until February.

Councillor Stanley King, on behalf of Bradford Council and Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority, said: "We do want to launch this bus service in Bradford, but we want it to succeed.

"The reason it has been put back until February is that that's budget time. We are under pressure in Bradford to put in some big cuts and I am going to have to be very silver-tongued to persuade them to fork out that money for the bus.'' When asked why the money from the sale of Leeds Bradford Airport could not be used, Coun King said: "That money is a one-off and because it's a windfall it's going to be used for capital projects."

John Mawdesley, of BOPA, said: "We understood the assessment was going to be discussed on December 18, but are now being advised that they have put it back again until February.

"We are no nearer to getting our free city bus."

Mr Mawdesley said shoppers were leaving Bradford in their droves to shop in neighbouring towns.

Keith Nathan, of Bradford & District Age Concern, said: "The people who go to shop elsewhere will have got into a new pattern and we won't win them back if we wait any longer."

Pam James, chairman of BOPA, told supporters: "You need to be there at the meeting in February.

Your sheer presence will be a sign to the Council of the support for the free city bus idea."


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