Calls for Ripon's city centre bus services to be expanded

Plans to introduce a bus service similar to the Little White Bus in the Upper Dales are being discussed by Ripon City Council.
Plans to introduce a bus service similar to the Little White Bus in the Upper Dales are being discussed by Ripon City Council.

After a successful trial period, Ripon's city centre bus service is continuing to be operated by Connexions Buses.

Following the death of Shaun McGowan, of Shaun's Minibuses and Coach Hire, Connexions took on the services in September, and the firm's managing director Craig Temple was pleased with the outcomes of the trial.

Mr Temple said: "The response has been great from people in Ripon, they are really happy that we are running it. We are happy to keep it going, but it also needs to be able to support itself. If it carries on as it is now, we will continue to run it with no time frame for it to stop."

Despite the good news of the continuation of the service, Ripon City Council and Connexions Buses recognise that there are still gaps in the city centre service which need to be filled.

Members of Ripon City Council met with the managers of the volunteer-run Little White Bus service this week to explore rolling out a similar scheme in Ripon to the one which operates in the Upper Dales.

Keen to have buses running later in the afternoon, into the evening, and on weekends, Coun Peter Horton said there was strong support at the meeting for setting up a similar service to the Little White Bus under the council's management.

Areas of Ripon highlighted by Coun Horton as still being in need of a bus service include the Doublegates estate, Palace Road, Ure Bank and Priest Lane.

Coun Horton said: "For Ripon to run a similar operation, the first essential would be a pool of volunteer drivers, and I would like to encourage volunteers to come forward.

"The Little White Bus is run by a non-profit making community company and has become a very successful enterprise with increasing passenger usage every year.

"A lot of people rely on the city centre services, so there is a real need to do this."

Brenda Kitson, who has been living in Ripon for 31 years, contacted the 'Gazette to raise her concerns.

She said: "It is good that we have got a service, but we wish it could run a bit later. When people go to clubs and meetings later on in the evening, they have got to walk home or get a taxi. We are grateful for what we have got, that the service is continuing, but it would be good to have more.

"Not having a bus on a Saturday means a lot of people have stopped going into town, which affects traders. It would be nice to have a bus running, even if it was just a limited service.

"I think having something similar to the Little White Bus is a good idea."

The proposals for a service similar to the Little White Bus will be discussed by Ripon City Council.