High hopes to save Dales bus service

The road into Nidderdale.

The road into Nidderdale.

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A public transport crisis in Nidderdale has been avoided after the county council and local transport organisations stepped in to fund “stop gap” bus services in the Dale.

Two new bus routes will be launched from tomorrow, Thursday, April 4 after funding cuts and fare rises have meant some residents struggle to get out and about, with remote areas of the upper Dale worst hit.

The two routes – which will replace existing community transport services - come as North Yorkshire County Council and the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA) set out to tackle the problem. They are due to start by today, Thursday, April 4.

The new routes will run from the Dale to Ripon on Thursdays, and from the Dale to Harrogate on Fridays.

The announcement comes after a Pateley Bridge Town Council meeting on March 19 which saw frustrated residents gather to air their concerns about dwindling transport provision.

Pateley Bridge Town Councillor Stan Lumley has written to the Herald to thank those who spoke out at the meeting.

He said: “I’d like to thank those residents who voiced their concerns, and NYCC and DITA for agreeing to this intermediate solution.

“These ventures can only be sustained if people use them – please use this opportunity to show how important these services are to our local community.”

Nidderdale Plus’s Katy Penn said the move was good news for passengers.

“From a passenger’s point of view it doesn’t matter who is running a bus service as long as it is consistent,” she said.

The new services will be operated at first by Little Red Bus for an initial one month period before being retendered for a further five months.

Organisers then hope a new volunteer run community transport organisation will be ready to start work around Nidderdale.

Nidderdale Plus now want to collect information about the demand and need for tranport in the Dale before trying to launch the community transport organisation.

The organisation wants to find out what people want from a community transport organisation before making plans over the coming six months.

Initial plans for a new transport provision include an organisation similar to the Little White Bus in Hawes, DITA’s Helen Flynn said.

The vehicle could be provided by the council, but drivers and organisational staff would be volunteers from within the community.

Anyone interested in getting involved – either as a volunteer driver or collecting informtaion about demand – can contact Nidderdale Plus on 01423 714953 or via the website www.nidderdaleplus.org.