Staff, trustees and volunteers at the community organisation were thrilled when the new minibus pulled up outside the Nidd Plus office on Tuesday.
Paula Newson Smith, Chair of Trustees, said: “We are so pleased that we can now start to offer people journeys that they currently cannot make, or can only make very rarely.
“All the surveying we have done over the past several years tells us that transport is the number one concern of people living in the dale, so our programme of regular trips and day trips will help to address this persistent problem for local residents.”
The first trip planned will take place on Thursday June 23 to Ripon, which will leave Pateley, from outside the Nidd Plus offices at 11.15am.
Its departure time means that residents further down the dale have the chance to get the No 24 bus to Pateley to then get on the minibus to Ripon.
The bus will leave Ripon at 2.30pm, so that it links with No.24 at 15.25.
Helen Flynn, Executive Director at Nidd Plus said: “It is very early days for us running a minibus service so we will try different approaches to see what works best.
“We want to try to link with the 24 as much as possible to help sustain the 24 service but if this does not work out, we will look at a different way of picking people up.”
The delivery of the minibus, bought with Nidderdale Plus Community Hub and North Yorkshire County Council funds, was delayed due to manufacture problems caused by covid.
But the wheels are now in motion to get residents moving with a variety of options, including use by community groups.
The plan is that the Ripon trip will be a weekly service. People can book by calling 01423 714953.
Anyone interested should fill in a membership form to use the minibus service. Membership is free, and required as part of the Section 19 permit that the minibus is registered under.
The bus will also be available for group hire by not-for-profit groups and societies in the local area. To enquire, please call 01423 714953.