The Group was formed in 1996 by a small number of bus users concerned at cuts being made to the network of buses from West Yorkshire into the Dales. It was established at an inaugural meeting at the Malt Shovel Inn in Burley in Wharfedale, with a mission to campaign for accessible and affordable public transport for visitors and residents within the Yorkshire Dales. It is now also affiliated to the National Federation of Bus Users.
Honorary Chairman Howard Handley (right)
welcoming 300th member Graham Chamberlain
of Kettlewell to the Group.
However, following constructive campaigning by the Group there have been steady improvements since then, with many new services developed on a partnership basis utilising funding from the Countryside Agency's Wider Welcome scheme. This year sees the best ever bus network operating from West Yorkshire to the Dales, with innovations for 2002 including a Bike Bus service, an hourly Sunday bus to Bolton Abbey and a new service from West Yorkshire to Ingleton and the Lakes.
Mr Handley said, "We're very pleased with what we've achieved over the last six years. I never expected when we first set up the Group that the challenges would be so great, nor that we would eventually achieve so much. I'm particularly pleased with the excellent relationships which we've developed with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and North Yorkshire County Council."
However the Group isn't complacent, there are many features of public transport to the Dales which require further improvement, not least the effective marketing of the services which are available, and the Group will continue to campaign for improvements. They are also aware that a number of the new bus services are being provided under short-term funding arrangements. There is a need to get a greater commitment to public transport in the Dales from the relevant authorities in order to secure the long-term future of these services.
The Group is keen to attract more members, to help demonstrate support for its campaign. Members receive full details of Dales bus services by post, as well as an informative newsletter and the opportunity to join meetings and guided walks. To join send a cheque for £4 to Hon Treasurer, 29 Somerville, Peterborough, PE4 5BB.
You can find out more about the Group by visiting their website at www.dalesbus.org. For information on buses to the Dales call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608.