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No u-turn over axed rural bus services

[Wednesday 22 March 2006]

There will be no u-turn on the decision to axe a number of subsidised bus services across North Yorkshire.

The County Council's transport and telecommunications services overview and scrutiny committee met to discuss an executive decision to make changes to the subsidised bus services - many of which provide a life-line to rural communities in the Yorkshire Dales.

No u-turn over axed rural bus services
No u-turn over axed rural bus

The committee voted overwhelmingly not to refer the matter back to the executive for reconsideration. They also agreed that the matter would not go before full council.

The outcome of the vote ratifies the executive's decision on March 1st to tackle the challenge of meeting the County's transport needs within budget.

The Authority would have faced a £311 000 shortfall in trying to maintain the current level of service on the subsidised routes and insists that the cuts are essential to stay within budget.

Councillor Eric Broadbent, who chaired the meeting, said: "I was very satisfied with the way the call in was handled.

"The committee listened carefully to the concerns of members and the public before reaching their decision."

That 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)

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)

North Yorkshire County Council 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.

Your views:

  • Yes, the council should fund rural bus services - but only if they are being used! I've been on several of these buses when I've been the only passenger ... hardly a good use of taxpayer money. The reason these buses are being withdrawn is because virtually nobody uses them.

    Subsidised buses should be - first and foremost - about providing access to services ... to ensure that everyone can get to a doctor, a supermarket, a railway station, etc.

    The majority of services scheduled for withdrawal are evening and Sunday services, which - while very nice to have - are not essential. The vast majority of villages across the county do have regular buses, many of which are funded by the council.

    Stephen Down

  • As a potential holidaymaker in the area who does not use a car for ethical reasons I find the bus service from Kendal to Hawes disgraceful.

    On the one hand you are encouraging people to not use their cars and on the other you are completely ignoring their needs. I am very disappointed.

    Patricia Thomas

  • I spend 3 months every year in Sedbergh (between April and July). Not having a car I rely on public transport to get around the Dales.

    One pleasure is visiting Hawes on Tuesdays (market day). I now find this year that the local Sedbergh-Hawes bus has been 'AXED'.

    There are many holidaymakers in Sedbergh, not to mention elderly local residents who do not drive, for whom the trip to Hawes on Tuesdays was one of their few remaining pleasures. These elderly residents must now feel even more that they are no longer of any consideration, and that the 'mighty dollar' is all that is considered nowadays.

    It seems incongruous that when people are actively being encouraged to visit the Dales, leave their car at home and travel by local transport, that these services are being axed. It seems a very retrograde step to cancel these very vital services.

    I am absolutely amazed that this has occurred.

    Marian Young

  • In reply to Marion Young about the lack of bus service between Sedbergh and Hawes.

    Although the service 112 operated by Braithwaites has been withdrawn there is still a Tuesday market day bus service 804 operated by Woofs and supported by Cumbria County Council.

    Mary Welch

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