Residents slam bus wars as ‘ridiculous’

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The battle of the buses travelling between Harrogate and Knaresborough has reached a peak with rival companies running multiple buses each hour on the same route.

Transdev run a bus from Harrogate to Knaresborough every seven minutes and rivals Connexions run their Harrogate to Knaresborough retail park route every 15 minutes.

The service is now so frequent that Knaresborough resident, Joan Rider, said: “I never even have to look at the times I just turn up and one will be along soon.”

Bus users have criticised the rivalry between Connexions buses and Transdev as ‘ridiculous’.

Matthew Stephenson, who uses the route daily, said he has witnessed an altercations between drivers in the past.

He said: “The conductors from both companies were shouting, swearing and pushing at each other as a bus had pulled into what I believe was the incorrect stand. It was ridiculous.”

Spokesmen from both bus companies have condemned this type of behaviour.

Nigel Eggleton, marketing director of Transdev buses, said: “The operation of Harrogate bus station is subject to very strict terms and conditions.”

“Behaviour like that is not allowed, we would take action against staff and hope other operators would do similar.”

Craig Temple, managing director of Connexions buses said: “Our drivers are under strict instructions not to enter into conversations like that.”

Mr Stephenson also criticised Connexions sales techniques. He said: “I think Connexions acted completely inappropriately by hawking their tickets at the bus station like donkey rides at Blackpool.”

Mr Temple said: “Transdev own the bus stations and don’t allow us to enter Knaresborough station or stay in Harrogate station for long.

“So we had to resort to letting people know about the service, we did it for a week as a bit of a push.

“We are a small local company, we are not trying to steal their business, we saw a gap in the market for a service to St James’s retail park and wanted to fill that gap.”

One elderly lady at Knaresborough bus station who didn’t wish to give her name said: “It can be a bit confusing with the different companies .

“We were supposed to get the bus to Burn Bridge but got on the wrong one. Thankfully there are every seven minutes so we can get back to Harrogate quickly.”

Other residents have seen the benefits of the battle of the buses. Bus user Dave Ketley said: “The service from Transdev has been rubbish for years but now the prices have come down and they are on time.”

“Competition can only be a good thing as it still costs more than £1 per mile.