Letter: Public transport - We need joined up planning

The Government is looking to change Yorkshire's local rail operator
The Government is looking to change Yorkshire's local rail operator

The Advertiser and Knaresborough Post have for sometime covered public transport issues in the district - new bus routes, the upgrade to Harrogate station, the recent derailment at Knaresborough. Each week there are letters to the local papers on transport issues.

One important change though that appears to have slipped under the radar is the change to the timing of the last train from Leeds to Harrogate.

In May, Northern Rail retimed this train during the week Monday to Friday from 23.29 to 23.32. This three minute delay means that instead of the train arriving in Harrogate at 00.05, it now arrives at 00.10.

As a result, where residents who live in Starbeck and Knaresborough were previously able to connect with the very last bus to Knaresborough at 00.10, they are now stranded because the bus leaves at the same time as the train arrives in Harrogate. They therefore have a choice of a very long walk home late at night or a taxi ride that costs more than the train ride from Leeds.

In a nutshell, where there was once joined up public transport in Harrogate there no longer is and this has had a very significant impact for those of us who relied on getting the last bus home if having to travel back from/through Leeds on the last train.

I have corresponded with Northern Rail, Transdev and the local MP (who is also Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport) on this and I am happy to share that correspondence.

Transdev are unwilling to delay their last bus until 00.15, saying that the last bus from Leeds at 23.15 does connect with the Knaresborough bus at 00.10.

Whilst this is true and an understandable position from a commercial perspective on their part to encourage folk to travel to/from Leeds by bus it does not account for rail travellers who travel beyond Leeds and return from further afield.

Northern have recently released their December 2015 to May 2016 timetable with no changes and have indicated that the new timings will be in place until such time as the line is upgraded. In other words, years.

Meanwhile those of us in Starbeck and Knaresborough are either stranded, face a long walk home or a costly taxi fair.

Dave Houlgate

via email