Campaigners’ anger after North Yorkshire bus cuts are approved

York Press: About 40 members of the public attended the meeting at County Hall in Northallerton. Picture: Sarah Caldecott About 40 members of the public attended the meeting at County Hall in Northallerton. Picture: Sarah Caldecott

CAMPAIGNERS have reacted angrily to a decision by North Yorkshire County Council to axe bus services, saying many people will lose a vital lifeline.

Yesterday, members of the council’s executive voted unanimously to cuts of £2m a-year despite impassioned campaigns.

About 40 members of the public, many of whom were elderly, attended the meeting to urge councillors to rethink the proposals and vote against the recommendation to approve the cuts.

Daphne Bowes, from Pickering, who went to the meeting by bus, said that the elderly people in the town would be devastated by the decision. “I am extremely disappointed. People will be stranded in their own homes now,” she said.

Mayor of Pickering Sue Cowan urged members of the executive committee to “protect and care for these very vulnerable people”.

She said: “It would allow them to live a healthy life and be able to enjoy their lives and live in their own homes, which for many will be impossible without this transport.”

However, Carl Les, the council’s deputy leader, said the council was under immense pressure to find a further £77m under Government direction to meet the deficit.

“We may be upset by it, we may not like its implications, but as the Government is one of our chief funders, we have to accept it,” he said.

Bus users in Ryedale had previously offered to pay towards their fares but were told that Government legislation would not allow it.

Councillor Clare Wood, who represents Hovingham and Sheriff Hutton, said that with more cuts to come across services, there would be no easy decisions to make. She said: “It is going to impact on all of us in many ways that years ago many of us could not have envisaged.”

In addition to the loss of the Pickering town service, some services in Rosedale, Malton and Helmsley will be reduced to once a week.

Other services, such as the 193 from Norton to the hospital via Peasey Hills, will be cut completely, however talks are continuing to provide the service commercially.

Helen Gundry, chairwoman of Northern Ryedale Public Transport Group, urged councillors to re-invest.

Speaking after the meeting, she said: “I am very disappointed really. I understand it is very difficult to make cuts, but the impact on people right is just tremendous.”

There was a suggestion of a “fall back” scheme for Pickering of a three-day-a-week dial-a-ride service to ensure vulnerable residents are not left stranded.

Councillor John Clark, who represents Pickering, said he had hoped the council would be open to some flexibility. “I fully except that they had to cut bus services, but I had hoped they would leave a small amount to keep those bus services going that only need a small subsidy,” he said.

“In the past I have proposed the council cuts the snow and ice maintenance grant instead so that people would only be isolated for a few days rather than 365 days a week.”

Norton resident Paul Swain, who collected nearly 500 signatures calling for the town service to be saved, said he was extremely disappointed with the council’s decision.

“It seemed to me that everything was cut and dried and all they wanted to do was pat themselves on the back,” he said.

“These people aren’t on this planet and are looking at the world through rose-coloured spectacles, but just wait until the next elections – there are a lot of disgusted voters out there.”

Councillor Elizabeth Shields, county councillor for Norton, said: “This really is very disappointing and a sad decision for hundreds of people both locally in Malton and Norton and also throughout the county.

“North Yorkshire County Council seems intent on hitting the most vulnerable of citizens.

“Not only will many people be deprived of means of using a basic service to visit the doctor, hospital, dentist and shop but also, for many people, deny them the opportunity of meeting friends and relatives in town.

“This is going to deprive a lot of people of any kind of social life which is really quite horrifying.

“I really wish some people on the council would think about the people who they represent.”

Councillor Lindsay Burr, who represents Malton, said she was “sickened” by the decision.

“It is yet again another smack in the teeth for the elderly and vulnerable people who mainly need these buses,” she said.

“People who have no transport of their own are now having their essential life-line cut.”

Comments (11)

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10:26am Wed 22 Jan 14

seatothewest says...

The County Council have not done enough to secure extra funding from Central Government to reflect the challenges of providing transport in England's largest county. This will have a large impact on the elderly, vulnerable and school students in rural areas.
The County Council have not done enough to secure extra funding from Central Government to reflect the challenges of providing transport in England's largest county. This will have a large impact on the elderly, vulnerable and school students in rural areas. seatothewest
  • Score: 19

12:29pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Stevie D says...

What a surprise. The Tory council have decided that "consult" actually means "con and insult". Like so many other people, I responded to their consultation and made it clear that the impact of the cuts they were proposing would be catastrophic. Sadly, I had no expectation that they would pay a blind bit of attention to anything anyone said, and I take little satisfaction in being right. Some people might find this hard to believe but NYCC are much worse than CYC for putting out sham consultations when they have already decided what they are going to do, and plough through regardless.

And that was when they were consulting on cuts to the tune of £1.1m. And despite the huge number of responses against the proposal with practically none in favour, and that their own Equalities Impact Assessment accepts that it will be primarily the elderly, disabled and less well off who will suffer the most (ie, the vulnerable groups they are supposed to be protecting), they have decided, unanimously to boot, to well and truly screw over their residents, businesses and visitors by increasing the size of the cuts to £2m.

The leopard doesn't change its spots.
What a surprise. The Tory council have decided that "consult" actually means "con and insult". Like so many other people, I responded to their [bold]con[/bold]sultation and made it clear that the impact of the cuts they were proposing would be catastrophic. Sadly, I had no expectation that they would pay a blind bit of attention to anything anyone said, and I take little satisfaction in being right. Some people might find this hard to believe but NYCC are [italic]much[/italic] worse than CYC for putting out sham [bold]con[/bold]sultations when they have already decided what they are going to do, and plough through regardless. And that was when they were consulting on cuts to the tune of £1.1m. And despite the huge number of responses against the proposal with practically none in favour, and that their own Equalities Impact Assessment accepts that it will be primarily the elderly, disabled and less well off who will suffer the most (ie, the vulnerable groups they are supposed to be protecting), they have decided, unanimously to boot, to well and truly screw over their residents, businesses and visitors by [italic]increasing[/italic] the size of the cuts to £2m. The leopard doesn't change its spots. Stevie D
  • Score: 18

1:29pm Wed 22 Jan 14

chelk says...

When you get paid as much as councillors do you do not need to worry about having to use the bus just put another expenses claim in.
When you get paid as much as councillors do you do not need to worry about having to use the bus just put another expenses claim in. chelk
  • Score: 15

1:50pm Wed 22 Jan 14

kirchheim says...

What a frightening show of inflexibility on the part of the council! Has it not occurred to those councillors who represent wards in affluent urban areas such as Harrogate and Knaresborough and make up a majority on North Yorkshire CC that there are a good many badly-off pensioners in remote rural areas who possess neither a car nor the cash for taxis? The CC is planning to disenfranchise a whole swathe of the population by making it impossible for them to participate in civic life in any meaningful way and make it doubly difficult for them to shop and to get medical care. Brilliant! Perhaps Eric Pickles and Grant Shapps would like to think over this one as they proceed in a tax-payer funded taxi through the streets of London
What a frightening show of inflexibility on the part of the council! Has it not occurred to those councillors who represent wards in affluent urban areas such as Harrogate and Knaresborough and make up a majority on North Yorkshire CC that there are a good many badly-off pensioners in remote rural areas who possess neither a car nor the cash for taxis? The CC is planning to disenfranchise a whole swathe of the population by making it impossible for them to participate in civic life in any meaningful way and make it doubly difficult for them to shop and to get medical care. Brilliant! Perhaps Eric Pickles and Grant Shapps would like to think over this one as they proceed in a tax-payer funded taxi through the streets of London kirchheim
  • Score: 13

1:52pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Roger S says...

The rural north continues to be treated worse than Scotland. If this is a priority cut, how much is the other £75 million going to hurt?
The rural north continues to be treated worse than Scotland. If this is a priority cut, how much is the other £75 million going to hurt? Roger S
  • Score: 12

5:37pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Daisy75 says...

We're already seeing the effects of bus cuts at the hospital- some patients are declining treatment that needs regular trips to the hospital as they can't get there by bus anymore.
We're already seeing the effects of bus cuts at the hospital- some patients are declining treatment that needs regular trips to the hospital as they can't get there by bus anymore. Daisy75
  • Score: 7

10:46pm Wed 22 Jan 14

tina d says...

It's a total disgrace and the ones that made this discussion should have there cars taken away for a year and move them to remote areas where people rely on these services for basic essentials and see if there decisions then changes after there experience of what people go through every week just to get by it makes me so angry !!!!
Tina d
It's a total disgrace and the ones that made this discussion should have there cars taken away for a year and move them to remote areas where people rely on these services for basic essentials and see if there decisions then changes after there experience of what people go through every week just to get by it makes me so angry !!!! Tina d tina d
  • Score: 6

2:47am Thu 23 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

Norton resident Paul Swain, who collected nearly 500 signatures calling for the town service to be saved, said he was extremely disappointed with the council’s decision.

“It seemed to me that everything was cut and dried and all they wanted to do was pat themselves on the back,” he said.

“These people aren’t on this planet and are looking at the world through rose-coloured spectacles”

NYCC is a Tory council, is anybody suprised by the fact all they seem to know what to do is get rid of things people need and then pat themselves on the back for doing a good job?!!
[quote] Norton resident Paul Swain, who collected nearly 500 signatures calling for the town service to be saved, said he was extremely disappointed with the council’s decision. “It seemed to me that everything was cut and dried and all they wanted to do was pat themselves on the back,” he said. “These people aren’t on this planet and are looking at the world through rose-coloured spectacles” [/quote] NYCC is a Tory council, is anybody suprised by the fact all they seem to know what to do is get rid of things people need and then pat themselves on the back for doing a good job?!! Magicman!
  • Score: 4

3:00am Thu 23 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

Back when the proposed cuts were £1.1m, the council wanted to get rid of one particular route because it had seasonal fluctuations... this being the 74 from Ilkley to Grassington via Bolton Abbey, which runs 5 journeys each way per day. In the winter it was mainly locals using it, but in the summer that little minibus running the route was bursting at the seams as tourists used it as the main link from the railway into the Yorkshire Dales. In their cancelling of the route, NYCC states "passenger useage figures from the operator show large seasonal fluctuations in passenger numbers for this service. This suggests the route is mainly used for tourism, which is a low priority for the council"... in short the council are determined to try and isolate the county off from tourists, a brainless move which is akin to shooting themselves in the foot. The National Park Authority have already got rid of Moorsbus, and now these deepened bus cuts could very well mean buses into and through the Yorkshire Dales ae next (dalesbus) - the end result will be either a lot more cars on narrow winding country roads (which could see an increase in collision rates as people crash into each other on blind bends, and possibly even fatalities as a car goes round a corner into a walker), or a serious decrease in tourism and thus less money into their local economy.

I absolutely have no understanding at all of what went on in these councillors brains when they approved these cuts. And at double their original proposed cuts. It beggars belief.
Back when the proposed cuts were £1.1m, the council wanted to get rid of one particular route because it had seasonal fluctuations... this being the 74 from Ilkley to Grassington via Bolton Abbey, which runs 5 journeys each way per day. In the winter it was mainly locals using it, but in the summer that little minibus running the route was bursting at the seams as tourists used it as the main link from the railway into the Yorkshire Dales. In their cancelling of the route, NYCC states "passenger useage figures from the operator show large seasonal fluctuations in passenger numbers for this service. This suggests the route is mainly used for tourism, [b]which is a low priority for the council[/b]"... in short the council are determined to try and isolate the county off from tourists, a brainless move which is akin to shooting themselves in the foot. The National Park Authority have already got rid of Moorsbus, and now these deepened bus cuts could very well mean buses into and through the Yorkshire Dales ae next (dalesbus) - the end result will be either a lot more cars on narrow winding country roads (which could see an increase in collision rates as people crash into each other on blind bends, and possibly even fatalities as a car goes round a corner into a walker), or a serious decrease in tourism and thus less money into their local economy. I absolutely have no understanding at all of what went on in these councillors brains when they approved these cuts. And at double their original proposed cuts. It beggars belief. Magicman!
  • Score: 7

8:19pm Thu 23 Jan 14

brosoe says...

Forgive me if I sound a little peed off here, but these cuts that are taking place throughout many different parts of OUR society to save a few bob here and there are but a drop in the ocean compared to what our government are shovelling abroad in foreign aid.
Quote " The UK's official development assistance (ODA) is expected to rise to £11.3bn when it hits the 0.7% target."
OK, fantastic, we send £11.3bn to starving, thirsty, AID's ridden, warring nations, but at home we cut, cut, cut.
So who are the most important to our government?
On the face of it, not us.
We are just serfs, plebs, here to do their bidding, and if you don't like it, well, what you gonna do?
It's disgusting, it's immoral, and it's here, now.
Forgive me if I sound a little peed off here, but these cuts that are taking place throughout many different parts of OUR society to save a few bob here and there are but a drop in the ocean compared to what our government are shovelling abroad in foreign aid. Quote " The UK's official development assistance (ODA) is expected to rise to £11.3bn when it hits the 0.7% target." OK, fantastic, we send £11.3bn to starving, thirsty, AID's ridden, warring nations, but at home we cut, cut, cut. So who are the most important to our government? On the face of it, not us. We are just serfs, plebs, here to do their bidding, and if you don't like it, well, what you gonna do? It's disgusting, it's immoral, and it's here, now. brosoe
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Maltonian says...

My dad is 85 and uses the Malton/Norton town service every week - he lives about 2 miles away from the surgery, Malton shops, hospital, etc. He would rather pay for his bus journey than lose it all together. I can't ever remember a time when the 13000+ residents of Malton/Norton didn't have a bus service and I go back a few years!
My dad is 85 and uses the Malton/Norton town service every week - he lives about 2 miles away from the surgery, Malton shops, hospital, etc. He would rather pay for his bus journey than lose it all together. I can't ever remember a time when the 13000+ residents of Malton/Norton didn't have a bus service and I go back a few years! Maltonian
  • Score: 0

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