Council minibuses to continue axed routes

County councillor Stuart Parsons, left, and County Council public transport officer Dianne Pottage, with users of the new service.

County councillor Stuart Parsons, left, and County Council public transport officer Dianne Pottage, with users of the new service.

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A FLEET of minibuses will be used to provide public transport on two routes in Northallerton and Richmond that would have otherwise lost their service.

Despite cutting £500,000 from its bus subsidy budget, North Yorkshire County Council has stepped in to ensure the numbers 74 and 31 will continue after Dales and District announced the services were no longer viable on a commercial basis.

The council will use its own minibuses crewed by council staff to provide replacements from April 11, taking over immediately from the current service.

Plans to cut £500,000 from North Yorkshire’s £2m annual budget for bus subsidies were first announced last spring, as the council was forced to make savings of £74m by 2019.

Since then, a number of community-led schemes have stepped in to plug gaps left by the cutting of some subsidised routes, including in Upper Wharfedale, Ryedale, Scarborough and Skipton.
Some other subsidised services will continue to run with changes to timetables beginning in April.

North Yorkshire’s executive member for public transport, County Coun Don Mackenzie said: “It is our policy not to subsidise town services. However, by making better use of our fleet of minibuses, which is also used on other services, we are confident we can cover the cost of operating the services from the fare revenue.”

Richmond County Coun Stuart Parsons, added: “It’s vital for the town that this service is maintained, as it provides a lifeline for many residents. I’m sure people will value these services and, therefore, it is important that they use them regularly.”

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