YP Letters: Bus service is vital to health of our tourism

From: Colin Speakman, Managing Director, Dales & Bowland CIC, Lawn Avenue, Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley.

Funding cuts are jeopardising the future of rural bus services.

ANDREW Vine’s excellent article on the financial crisis facing the Sunday DalesBus network (The Yorkshire Post, November 17) also echoes your report on Sir Gary Verity’s timely comments about lack of effective ticket and transport provision for tourists to Yorkshire.

Friends of DalesBus and Dales & Bowland CIC have strongly advocated a single, simple Dales Pass concept – a travel ticket, rail and bus, which could be bought at travel and visitor centres, in hotels when you book your holiday or weekend break, or online in Germany, Australia or the USA, to give unlimited travel for a day, weekend or even a full week in any part of the Yorkshire Dales, and similarly for the North York Moors and the Peak District national parks.

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Such tickets could also give discounts to key visitor attractions. This summer my wife and I were able to purchase just such a ticket, the Tell Pass, valid on all forms of transport in central Switzerland.

We do have a Dales Freedom Rover ticket available costing just £10 valid on all Sunday DalesBus services, which can be used on linking bus services from as far away as Manchester, York, Wakefield, Lancaster and Teesside. But on weekdays visitors have to buy separate tickets in both West and North Yorkshire and can be spending between £20 and £30 per head on services that require frequent changes and usually don’t connect.

Yet the superb integrated DalesBus Sunday network with its through ticketing system could be savaged next year through a pathetic lack of funding.

It is high time transport and tourism chiefs got together in our region, ended damaging parochialism over boundaries and put the needs of tourists first, to encourage, not discourage, the visitors who bring millions of pounds worth of business and jobs to our region.

Politicians stand in way

From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon.

THE President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, Andy Caton, is absolutely right when he states that the “political self-interest” of certain West Yorkshire politicians is failing to deliver a devolution deal for the region (The Yorkshire Post, Business, November 22).

It certainly seems that council leaders such as Peter Box (Wakefield) and Judith Blake (Leeds) are more intent on covering their own political positions rather than considering what is best for the whole of Yorkshire. They are doing our wonderful county a huge disservice, and somehow heads need to be knocked together and a much wider picture taken into account before we are left even further behind.

Indeed, it speaks volumes for the way that Leeds has been managed by its inept leaders that such a city is still no nearer the metro tram system that it so desperately needs.

Andy Caton is also correct regarding HS3 in that it is vital for Bradford to have a through city centre station on the new line to improve its current dreadful connectivity.

Stop the HS2 monstrosity

From: TE Marston, Cambridge Street, Otley.

DID you see the TV programme about high speed railways where it stated that the London to Paris operation is carrying one third of the projected number of passengers? I wonder how many will use the Yorkshire branch.

Next came the South Yorkshire area which has just got back on its feet after years of degeneration. The focus on the young couple who have just bought a new house in the way of the redirected line told it all.

They then interviewed the boss at HS2, a sneering individual who replied to all questions with thinly disguised contempt. Is there still time to stop this monstrosity or is it too late? An ‘Orgreave’ type demonstration would not go amiss!

MP should keep his word

From: Glyn Wild, Highfield Terrace, Swinton, Malton.

WHEN Kevin Hollinrake was elected as MP for Thirsk and Malton, he said: “We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Locally, here in North Yorkshire we have strong, tight-knit communities. We must preserve what we have at all costs. I am delighted to have the chance to support and campaign on behalf of local people, community groups, businesses and farmers.”

Note he stressed preserving the countryside and supporting the tight-knit communities. And yet since then he has chosen to support his own Government line on fracking for natural gas and not the majority of people in his area who are opposed to this destructive process. Apart from the associated health risks, fracking is an industrial process and on the large scale that is proposed will bring huge disruption to our countryside and communities.

In the House of Commons only last week, in relation to the developments of the new potash mine and the drilling of shale gas wells in the area, he asked to meet with the Transport Secretary and the Treasury to discuss infrastructure upgrades because “much of the associated traffic will travel down a single lane of the A64”.

This surely acknowledges that fracking in North Yorkshire would be an industrial process, that would involve transporting large amounts of goods and materials and it would inevitably have an effect on communities and businesses such as tourism. Kevin Hollinrake has been to the USA and seen this industrial process in action.

He has seen the problems and yet he hides behind the mantra ‘it’s fine because we have much better regulations here’.

I am sorry, but that is not good enough and does not reflect his promise to “support and campaign on behalf of local people”.