A PIONEERING bus service which has successfully reduced the number of car journeys into the North York Moors National Park could be running a reduced service this summer because of cuts to its subsidy.
Pensioners, who use the bus to travel into the park from urban areas, will now have to pay for their journeys if they begin before 9.30am.
Moorsbus celebrates its 30th birthday this year. It began after the television series Brideshead Revisited made the North York Moors an increasingly popular destination. Last year, more than 62,000 journeys were made, more than three-quarters of these by people entitled to concessionary
fares who were able to travel for free.
This year the North York Moors National Park Authority, which runs Moorsbus, must make savings because of Government cuts to its core grant and also because of the possible loss of the money it receives from North Yorkshire County Council.
It estimates that 75,000 will have to be shaved from the annual budget for Moorsbus.
One proposal, which has already been agreed by members of the National Park Authority, is to reduce the number of days that Moorsbus runs. The daily service during the school holidays will be reduced to Wednesdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Overall, it cuts the number of days that Moorsbus will operate this year from 80 to 50.
No routes are being axed, but in a separate development, the district councils which fund the services into the park from places like Darlington, Saltburn and Hull are refusing to pay for pensioners to use their concessionary passes before 9.30am on weekdays, despite the fact that most of the buses for the moors from urban areas leave before then.
The National Park Authority is planning to introduce a flat fare of 4, or the single fare if that is cheaper, for any pensioners travelling before 9.30am.
"We're having to cut what we do, but when we are operating we're doing our best to improve our service to the public," says Michael Graham the assistant director for recreation and park management at the North York Moors National Park Authority.
The National Park is still waiting to hear whether, as it anticipates, the funding it receives from North
Yorkshire County Council will be cut. That decision comes in the middle of February.