Bus company Transdev Harrogate and District has been accused of leaving Ripon ‘in the cold’ after excluding the city from its new Boxing Day route.
The firm, which runs the number 36 bus to and from Ripon to Leeds via Harrogate, will operate a Boxing Day service for the first time in its history.
It will run half-hourly between Harrogate and Leeds and half-hourly between Harrogate, Knaresborough and Carmires on the 1c.
However, the service will not run to Ripon this year as Keith Roebuck, general manager of Transdev Harrogate & District, explained there was not enough demand.
He said: “It’s the first year we have run the service and we are trying to do everything we can but we believe there will be a very high demand between Harrogate and Leeds and Harrogate to Knaresborough. We have only got limited resources available and we have tried to cover where we think demand is going to be.
“We would have loved to provide a service for everyone but we are limited to what we can offer but we will review the situation for future years.”
However, Ripon residents have reacted angrily to the news, including Sue Eddleston who believes, once again, the city has been left behind.
She said: “I was recently on the number 36 bus and asked the driver why it was not going to Ripon on Boxing Day and he said many customers had asked the same question.
“He explained the service was being staffed by volunteer drivers and there were not enough of them that had come forward to ensure it could carry on to Ripon.
“If this is a new service then how do they know what the demand is between Leeds and Harrogate? How do they know there’s no demand unless they try it out?
“Nobody in Ripon can travel out on Boxing Day without cars and, equally, people are prevented from coming to Ripon, visiting the cathedral and looking round the shops.”
Mr Roebuck explained that if Ripon had been included as part of the Boxing Day service, the company would not have been able to offer such frequent journeys.
He said that although he sympathised with residents in Ripon, he stressed the need for a good frequency of service otherwise it would not be attractive for customers.
He said: “Customers have regularly come to us and said we have been asked the question about a Boxing Day service so we are responding to their needs.
“Hopefully it will be popular, it’s quite some years since we have done this but times have changed. More shops open on Boxing Day now and people’s habits have changed.
“We are trying to match that demand but we are quite limited to what we can offer. So we are just giving things a try this year but if we are successful that will encourage us to do more next year.”