A number of bus routes across North Yorkshire - including several in the Yorkshire Dales - will be axed and others will face fare increases.
The controversial move follows a decision taken today by the County Council's corporate director for transport, Mike Moore, in consultation with Councillor Clare Wood, the authority's executive member for public transport.
Dales bus routes axed
The pair were considering a report on the County's network of subsidised bus routes which laid out options to bridge a £311,000 shortfall in the amount required to maintain the current level of service.
Many services covering rural areas in and around the Dales are simply not viable without subsidy - one service costs £18.18 per passenger -, but they do provide a life-line for many in isolated communities to remain in contact with the wider region.
The decision heralds the end of a number of services across the Yorkshire Dales, including:
- The 112 and 130 services between Sedbergh, Hawes and Thwaite (Tuesday and Friday)
- The X53 service between Masham, Well, Carthorpe, Northallerton and the Friarage Hospital (All services)
- The 34 service between Richmond and Darlington (Evenings and Sundays)
- The 904 service between Harrogate and Otley (Evenings and Sundays)
- The X84 service between Leeds, Otley and Skipton (Evenings and Sundays between Ilkley and Skipton)
The decision to axe those services coming in to the Dales from West Yorkshire could prove highly controversial as it seemingly undermines efforts to encourage visitors to travel to the area by public transport, rather than by car.
Passengers using other routes will see fare increases, these include:
- The 807 service between Skipton, Hawes and Richmond (Summer Sundays)
- The 800 service between West Yorkshire and Hawes (Summer Sundays)
- The 805 service between West Yorkshire and Hawes (Summer Sundays)
A County Council spokesman said: "In reaching the decision, Mr Moore took into account the need to reduce very high levels of subsidy for poorly used buses, the need to secure best value for North Yorkshire's bus users and the need to safeguard essential transport for rural areas".
The authority has committed to spending £5.12 million on subsidised routes and encouraging community transport schemes on some of the affected routes, whilst a campaign to increase passenger numbers on some others will be launched.
Councillor Clare Wood said: "I have very much appreciated the high level of interest the people of North Yorkshire have shown.
"I have listened very carefully and believe that the decision taken today reflects a real balance in offering subsidised bus services in rural areas and value for money for our residents".
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