Bus service cuts for Wetherby district

Drastic cuts to bus funding for the Wetherby and Harrogate district will see services slashed by £1.1m.

North Yorkshire County Council has already committed to saving £92m by March 2015, but now must now find a further £66m by 2019.

And to do this, it is considering slashing bus services across Wetherby, Harrogate, Ripon, Nidderdale, and Knaresborough.

In Wetherby bus services operating days are to be cut on the 411, 412, and 413 from Wetherby to Bickerton with York and Cattal to drop from hourly to two hourly.

These services cost £55,550 and helps 25,783 passengers.

The 770 Follifoot to Rudding Park will also be reduced to two hourly - this service currently costs £28,398.

And the 780 Knaresborough to Wetherby will be cut from hourly to four times a day.

“Whilst we are still committed to investing in public transport we have to look at reducing the amount of money we spend,” said a report put before councillors in Harrogate last week.

“However, no decision to withdraw bus subsidies will be taken without careful consideration of the results of this consultation exercise.”

The report, said 80 per cent of the county’s services were run by private providers at a profit.

But 20 per cent - 3.3m passenger journeys - were subsidised by the council at an annual cost of £4.4m.And now, to claw back some of this cash, cuts are to be considered across the district.

“Our overall strategy is to ensure that as many communities as possible continue to have access to a public or community transport service and that these services give value for money,” said the county report.

“Our first priority is to provide services which meet the day-to-day transport needs of local communities.”

A raft of proposals have been put forward for consultation, cutting some services altogether, reducing others and scrapping school services for children who travel further to go to the school of their choice.

Any changes would be introduced from next April. The consultation runs until November 25, 2013.

What do you think?