This year marks the 17th year of the Green Party's Christmas Bus Service in Huddersfield. The service is run by volunteer drivers and stewards and was the brainchild of David Taylor a Green Party member from Linthwaite. 17 years ago Bus Services had been cut back with the removal of services on Boxing Day and New Years Day with reduced services on New Years Eve and Christmas Eve. People without a car were forced to either get an expensive taxi or stay at home if they needed to get around. Plenty of people did need to go places, shopping in the sales, going to the football, visiting family and friends in hospital or simply going to work. The service itself started as a protest, to shame the bus companies and Metro to reinstate withdrawn services but as years went by it became a commitment. The service linked Berry Brow, Newsome, Huddersfield and the hospital and was free to users with only donations being requested. An amendment to the Council budget around 8 years ago enabled the hire of buses for a range of voluntary organisations and now there are several services operating. 3 years ago Metro had a rethink and Boxing Day bus services were reinstated but unfortunately not on New Years Day so the volunteer service goes on. There are still areas not served by the Boxing Day service and this year we will be running a service linking Flockton, Grange Moor and Huddersfield for the first time with Green Party members Derek Hardcastle (pictured) and Michelle Atkinson taking the wheel.
Complaining about services being withdrawn is important but if we have learnt anything from this it is not enough to simply protest, real empowerment comes when you take action.