MP tackles bosses over bus cuts plan

Ripon MP Julian Smith.
Ripon MP Julian Smith.

Ripon MP Julian Smith has held crunch talks with transport bosses over proposals to cut subsidies to rural bus services.

The meeting on Friday last week comes after North Yorkshire County Council’s consultation on its proposals to slash the subsidies by £1.1m – a budget cut of 25 per cent – ended on November 25.

Mr Smith met with Coun Chris Metcalfe, the county council’s executive member responsible for buses, and Richard Owens, the council’s assistant director for integrated passenger transport.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Smith said:“Bus services play a hugely important role in enabling people to get around our rural areas and it is vital we do what we can to ensure they can continue to play that important role in the future.”

“I have received many representations during the consultation from residents who are concerned about the impact any reduction in services could have on them and their communities.”

Proposals on the table include reducing the operations of the 138 Mickley to Ripon service, 139 Ripon to Fountains Abbey and surrounding villages service, and the withdrawl of the 7.26am Green Hammerton to Ripon service on the 142/3 route.

School bus services are also affected by the proposals, with the suggestion that a minimum £1 per journey fare be introduced on the 56A (Harrogate-Bishop Monkton-Ripon schools), 57B (Harrogate-Boroughbridge-Roecliffe), 723H (Rainton-Dishforth-Skelton on Ure-Ripon), and 807H (Pickhill-Kirklington-Bedale High School) services.

Mr Smith said: “While accepting the financial challenge faced by the council, I share the concerns my constituents have expressed to me and want to make sure that solutions put forward by users and communities are fully taken into account when the council is considering its next steps.”

Also under threat in the proposals are Ripon’s circular bus services 131 (which serves the Lark Lane area), and 132 and 134 (which serve the Gallows Hill and Lead Lane areas).

A petition handed to the council last month protesting the cuts to the circular services was signed by 2,155 people.