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Bus services in rural areas may be reprieved
10:40am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
VITAL bus services to rural parts of Yorkshire could be reprieved under revised savings plans by North Yorkshire County Council.
The axe has been hanging for months over bus services to isolated villages and those bringing market town residents into town centres, after the council announced plans to cut bus subsidies.
A consultation on the cuts – designed to save £1.1 million, a quarter of the council’s bus subsidy budget – ran from August until November. The results will be debated by the council’s transport scrutiny committee tomorrow before it passes on a recommendation to the executive committee in the New Year.
A report based on all 2,000 consultation responses puts forward alterations to the proposals, and confirms that some town services, including the No193 which serves Norton and Malton, look set to be carried on as entirely commercial services.
Norton’s county councillor Elizabeth Shields has cautiously welcomed the news.
She said: “Apparently a commercial service is assured, but there is no mention of subsidies. The scrutiny committee meets on Thursday and I hope its members will push for at least part of the £18,000 subsidies our towns need to be retained.”
Coun Shields said she was concerned about ticket prices for people who did not have concessionary bus passes – a problem that could apply to other towns facing the loss of subsidised services.
In Easingwold, the No31 connects the town to Helmsley and had faced severe cuts. Now the proposal is to cut just one journey either way in the evening. Tracy Battensby relies on the bus to get from her home in Easingwold to work in Ampleforth and said the new proposal was a “big relief”.
“It sounds a lot better than it was. If this is the case, I will be able to carry on getting to work.”
The report says on some routes – including one between Ripon and Thirsk and another travelling from Malton to Hutton le Hole, Kirkbymoorside and moors villages – passenger numbers had increased so much that they recommend the service should stay the same.
However, other services have been less fortunate. There is no confirmed future for the town service in Pickering, and the report still recommends cuts in services between Hovingham and Helmsley down to two buses on Fridays.
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