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Bus services under threat in North Yorkshire

Bus services under threat in North Yorkshire

5:40am 28th July 2010

North Yorkshire proposes changes to bus service funding.

Changes to bus services across North Yorkshire are being proposed by North Yorkshire County Council in the face of major cuts in public spending.

The Council has lost almost £11 million in Government grants for the year 2010-11.  In addition, the annual review of spending due in October is widely expected to lead to reductions of up to 25% in the council's medium term financial strategy.

North Yorkshire currently spends almost £6.5 million a year on financial support designed to ensure that as many people as possible have access to high quality public transport services.  Around a quarter of the county's bus network, carrying more than four million passengers every year, is funded by the county council.

Now the council is proposing a reduction of £600,000 - just under ten per cent - in the amount allocated to supporting public transport.

The changes, which would be introduced at the beginning of the next financial year in April 2011, involve withdrawing funding support for

  •  journeys which operate on Sundays and bank holidays
  • journeys which operate Monday to Saturday in the evenings - generally after 7pm
  • service 767, which operates between Harrogate and Leeds/Bradford airport.

"In the current economic climate the council has no choice but to consider the extent to which expenditure on bus services can be reduced," said County Councillor Clare Wood, Executive Member for Passenger Transport.

"We recognise that these reductions will cause inconvenience to people who use the bus services, but by doing this we will be able to maintain a weekday daytime network which provides essential access for as many citizens as possible."

The changes will not necessarily mean the withdrawal of all evening and Sunday services.  A number of routes, mainly in Scarborough, Harrogate and Selby, will continue to be provided by bus operators on a commercial basis.

Details of the proposed reductions are being circulated to parish and district councils, which are being invited to comment on the plans before a final decision is taken.

The council is also seeking views on a proposal to standardise the hours of operation of concessionary fares across the county.   This means that passes in all areas of the county would only be valid between 09.30 and 23.00. It is possible that this change will reduce the cost of the scheme by up to £400,000 a year.

"In rural areas where services are infrequent, it is possible that concessionary passes would be accepted on some journeys before 9.30," added Councillor Wood.  "The restriction on hours only applies to journeys between Monday and Friday."

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