An urgent call has been made to fund the return of a cross-county bus service which provided a major boost for Nidderdale’s summer trade.
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company needs to raise £5,000 before the end of January to bring back the Sunday and bank holiday routes, with an earlier start this year planned for Easter weekend.
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Chairman of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff, urged residents and organisations to consider donating towards the service.He said: “The services opened up access to the countryside for people from areas outside of Nidderdale many of whom may otherwise not have been able to visit. The services also proved to be extremely popular with local people. The local economy benefits from the passengers who visit the area through their spending in local businesses.
"Having these bus services also sends out a strong message that there is an integrated public transport system operating in Nidderdale.”
There will be three routes operated by Dales and Bowland if funding can be raised in time. The DalesBus 821 will carry passengers from Keighley and Otley, via Fewston and Blubberhouses, the DalesBus 822, linking York and Ripon with Fountains Abbey and the DalesBus 825 linking Harrogate, Brimham Rocks and Fountains Abbey.
In total £26,000 is needed to cover the cost of the service, but £5,000 needs to be raised before the end of the month due to 70 days notice being required for the service to begin in time.
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Paul Chattwood, from the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company, said “We know from our passenger survey that these services were highly valued by passengers last year, including both local residents and visitors to the area. The buses really helped people, particularly the elderly, to get out and enjoy the countryside, as well as boosting trade at local businesses so we hope that individuals, organisations and businesses will help support the buses again this year. Supporting the buses is a great way to help the local community.”
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‘Time is tight,’ to hit this goal and see the service return, added Mr Tordoff.
He said: “It would be a great loss for the community and businesses if the services were not able to be run this summer, so I’m hoping people reading this will be able to step in at this, almost at the 11th hour and save the day with a financial contribution.”
If you would like to donate contact the Chamber of Trade at Nidderdale@hotmail.com