WE write with regard to the petition concerning the reduction in bus services between Northallerton and Hawes. Bedale is a small town which is the hub for several villages between Leeming, Leyburn and the Dales. It is the centre through which people travel to camping and caravan sites in the Dales and where the campers come for their meals and their shopping. Shops are largely owned and operated as small businesses by a few employees.
We were extremely pleased when a few years ago the local buses were replaced with lower-floored vehicles which gave access to wheelchairs and prams or pushchairs. The situation has now been drastically changed due to service cuts in the funding to our buses. We would like to point out the following:-
Local post offices and libraries are now closed in most villages and the mobile library is no longer in use. The mobile post office is not always reliable. There is no longer a bus for people to access Bedale or Leyburn facilities at a suitable time.
The ageing population cannot walk the two miles necessary to catch a bus.
Families are finding it difficult to access the schools for the journeys to and from school.
Appointment availability to doctors’ surgeries, the local health clinics and the hospitals are causing difficulties for some people.
Some local businesses have already lost valued staff as the cut in bus services mean they cannot work the necessary hours. Appointments for some services are no longer made or kept for the same reason.
Tourists, especially walkers and campers, need to get to shops and they do not all arrive by car.
Some buses have been replaced with the smaller ones which mean they are no longer usable by wheelchairs and prams.
The future is looking bleak for our communities. Younger families will move to larger towns or cities so that the parents may work and the children may travel more easily to their places of education.
More older and disabled people will suffer from the effects of their lack of contact with their peers and loneliness will mean more pressure on the infrastructure of the health services. Pubs and cafes and other shops will suffer from a reduction in holiday trade. Please do what you can to enable us to manage our lives in our own way.