Nidderdale bus route cut could leave residents 'isolated'

A Nidderdale parish council have said cuts to the district's no.24 bus route could leave residents more isolated, just at a time that developers are eyeing the village for housing developments.

The 24 service is to be reduced to eight buses a day
The 24 service is to be reduced to eight buses a day

Darley and Menwith Parish Council have this week learned that the Harrogate Bus Company will be reducing the number of buses, calling at stops between Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.

This will see the number of buses serving the route drop from 11 to eight a day, the frequency will be every hour and a half, except in the early morning and middle of the day, when it will be every two hours, say the council.

Chairman Susan Welch said the council had no prior of the reduction in service, but had already received complaints from residents. She said: “It is going to make things hard for people to travel and commute, I appreciate that they have done things like improve things to help children travelling to school, but its just two extra services a day.

“On their website they are saying how good things are for everyone, but when you see these reduction to eight it makes you wonder.

Speaking on the impact of the changes she said: “It will make it more difficult for people to travel, with it being an hour and half and people not knowing when its going to come. I know I have had quite a few people complaining already. At the same time the village has housing developments,and plans for other ones, that are based on us having a regular bus service. I believe we have around 60 coming through at the moment, and there are more sites in the Local Plan.

"Those are based on us having the infrastructure to support them. I think this is going to mean people are more isolated. It is often used by older people, but there are younger people in the village who need to be able to get about, during the holidays.” Chair of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff said that the chamber had been in talks with the Harrogate Bus Company over services last week. “While disappointing he said there was a need to be ‘realistic,’ and to find a balance between the use of the service and the business.

He said: “It is always disappointing when bus services are reduced or cut, but we also have to be realistic that from a business perspective cuts like this this are made if a service is not being used enough. “I do appreciate it needs people to use it for it be economically viable for them. To be fair to Harrogate Bus Company, they are investing in the service with the electric buses which are new, and have things that travellers want. They are working in the area, and doing so consciously of the environment.”He added:”We have lobbied to retain services but they need to reduce this to ensure the rest of the service is maintained. We also have to make sure the service is being used as well.”

Mr Tordoff added that a strategy is in place to try and draw more visitors to Nidderdale by working with the bus company, and hoped this could lead to further investment into bus routes.

The Harrogate Bus Company in a statement said the changes to the service reflected how customers used it, and that it would also be introducing two of its new electric buses onto the route.

A spokesman said: ’We’re making some changes to the 24 timetable to better reflect the travel patterns of our customers, including an enhanced service during the peaks, extending to and from St Aidan’s and St John Fishers’ Schools. There’ll also be two electric buses dedicated to the 24 from late October, improving the air quality in the Dales.”