North Yorkshire bus services ‘facing potential cliff-edge’

The Dalesbus at Usha Gap in Swaledale.

Bus services in North Yorkshire are now facing “a potential cliff-edge” after the county failed to secure any money to improve services in the government’s high-profile Bus Back Better scheme, a transport boss has warned.

In a statement to a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council next Wednesday, Councillor Keane Duncan said the authority was aware several of the county’s commercial routes were facing “significant pressures”, due to the loss of government subsidies in three months.

The warning from the Conservative-led council’s executive member for highways and transportation comes ahead of bus services across the country having to introduce a £2 price cap on local and regional journeys from October.

It also comes just three months after it emerged the authority’s £116 million Bus Back Better bid had been rejected in its entirety by the government, which claimed the bid had lacked “sufficient ambition”.

As winning the grant had been crucial for elements of the county’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, the authority expressed dismay at the decision.

Even ahead of the decision in March, members of the authority’s executive had underlined the need for bus services for the county’s rural communities, which dwindled following significant austerity cutbacks.

Coun Duncan said the council had launched a review of the passenger service network across the county to understand which could become threatened in the coming months.

He said: “The end of the Commercial Bus Services Support Grant provided by central government in October presents a potential cliff-edge in terms of the future profitability of routes our residents rely upon.”

He said the review would enable him to assess potential support the council could provide “to keep as many of our vital services running as possible”.

The authority’s opposition leader, Councillor Bryn Griffiths, said concerns had been mounting for the viability of some bus services as they appeared to have reached a tipping point.

Coun Griffiths said by giving one-off grants for specific projects limited to certain places the government was failing to provide the resources needed to improve access to public transport across England’s largest county.

He said: “It’s an appalling situation. We lose out in the North of England in rural areas because the government doesn’t recognise the issues.

“Places like Bilsdale have no bus services on Sundays because the county council cannot afford to subsidise them, so people can’t get to hospitals to visit their loved ones. Cutting services even further is just ridiculous.

“It’s a vicious circle. You get fewer services, so it gets less and less attractive for people to use.”


  1. The appalling service to the rural parts of the county also “persuade” older drivers to continue to drive when maybe they should not as, otherwise, they have no access to shops, doctors etc.

  2. Presumably whoever prepared the bid for submission has been fired? I doubt it but sounds ludicrous that whatever was prepared was not thoroughly vetted to ensure it complied fully with the criteria for receiving support and if not then why not? Hopefully more professionalism will go into council claims for funding going forward.

  3. Bus services are needed along with rail places like bullamoor kirby sigston don’t see buses yet local services of Northallerton don’t serve the worker or a the wider community, they seam to only serve selective shopper and school.
    Also if you have to go to james cook it can not be done unless you change at Stockesley because bus operators cherry pick better services leaving none profitable to others surely this is wrong.
    The transport authority says what service is served and then offers it out to tender not the operator to choose the service part that’s like buying fish and chips but saying you will only pay for chips.
    So upper Dales or lower vales bus services need to be in place if new houses are to be built, also if a rail line is there then consider reopen a station to serve several villages and make bus connections to them to reduce car use, or county won’t be carbon free.

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