Bizarre bus pass situation ended for upper Dales students

File pic.

A bizarre situation which saw students from remote areas of the Yorkshire Dales told they only qualified for subsidised bus passes to a college to which there was no public transport appears to have been ended.

There was consternation at a meeting of Richmondshire District Council last month after it emerged post-GCSE students from the upper Dales had been told they would not receive North Yorkshire County Council bus passes to travel to Darlington College as Skipton College was closer.

The ruling by County Hall officials left the families of students in villages including Hawes, Bainbridge and Aysgarth dumbfounded as there is no public transport to Skipton from the area that would get them to classes on time.

In addition, councillors were told no students from the Upper Dales had ever travelled the move would mean students having to cross mountain passes twice daily through the winter months.

The meeting heard council officers’ rulings over bus passes meant some families had one child who would be allowed to travel on subsidised buses to Darlington and another who would not.

Members, including leading Conservatives, said they were confused after Upper Dales county councillor Yvonne Peacock told the meeting North Yorkshire County Council’s bus pass policy had not changed.

After the meeting, Councillor Patrick Mulligan, the county council’s executive member for education and skills said the authority wanted to provide children and young people with transport to the school or college of their choice, but it was “simply not affordable given the current pressures on council budgets”.

He said: “The post-16 transport policy is updated on an annual basis and this policy brings us in line with most other local authorities in England.”

However, Cllr Peacock said after working with families and county council officers, students from the Upper Dales were being offered bus passes to Darlington College again.

She said the situation had become surrounded by confusion partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, with colleges being closed since the end of March and many council officers working from home some key information not being readily available.

Cllr Peacock said: “The county’s policy has not changed. It is working through all the applications. They do accept that although Skipton is the nearest, there’s no public transport to Skipton.

“I would ask any parents that still have any problems with this to contact me.”

Hawes and High Abbotside councillor Jill McMullon, who raised concerns over the bus pass decisions, said: “I am very glad North Yorkshire County Council has seen sense and has recognised that Skipton College was unachievable for students in the Upper Dales area.”


  1. If the decision makers were made to live in the Dales from November to March and have their children rely on the bus services available
    Do these people not look at bus timetables? They are available on line

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