Follifoot’s only bus service scrapped.

NADV 1302056AM Follifoot bus. The Harrogate bus on route through Follifoot. (1302056AM)
NADV 1302056AM Follifoot bus. The Harrogate bus on route through Follifoot. (1302056AM)

Residents of Follifoot may be left stranded when the only public bus route which serves the village is diverted.

The 770 bus, runs from Harrogate to Wetherby and onwards to Leeds every half an hour Monday to Saturday daytimes.

However from March 10 2013 the route will go directly along the A661 between Woodlands Corner and Spofforth, no longer serving Rudding Park or Follifoot.

The announcement was made on bus company Metro’s website on January 25.

Local resident Brian Fisher said: “I use that bus regularly as do many others.

“Although it is often free bus pass holders using the service that shouldn’t matter. I will certainly miss the service when it has gone.”

Nigel Eggleton, marketing director for Transdev explained that the timing of the route is the issue.

He said: “The full route is supposed to take three and a half hours return. But congestion on the Wetherby Road in Harrogate, and traffic in Leeds and Wetherby means that is rarely the case.”

He added: “This change is the best solution for the majority of people and should provide a far more reliable service.”Residents took to twitter and facebook to vent their frustration. Twitter user Dan Hartley said: “I’m not sure I buy the logic of a more reliable service, just alter the timings don’t leave a village stranded.”

However it is not only residents who will be affected by the changes.

Peter Banks, Managing director at Rudding Park: “It will affect 60 members of my staff who use the 770 to get to and from work, that’s nearly 30 per cent of my staff.

“They can’t all afford cars and some of them are too young to have a driving license so rely on this service.

“It’s counterintuitive, the bus is being cancelled because it can’t run on time because of how busy Wetherby Road is, but if all my staff had to drive it would be much busier.”

He added: “It will have an economic impact for us, in the past 15 years we have gone from 20 staff to 200 and want to continue to develop and grow but wont be able to if we can’t get staff.”

North Yorks Coun John Savage said: “The first I had heard about this was from the Parish Council who had only heard it through the grapevine from someone.”

“The bus route is not subsidised by North Yorkshire county council so runs as a private business.

“I am doing everything I possibly can to preserve this service.”

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said: “We are aware of the changes and there are currently no plans to pay for the service to keep running.”

Follifoot Parish Council intend to discuss the matter further at a meeting of February 14.

Will you be affected by the changes to the bus route? Let us know your thoughts, email, tweet @HarrogateHound or comment below.