Tense wait on bus cuts decision continues

Under threat: Ripon's 131 service.
Under threat: Ripon's 131 service.

The fate of 150 bus services in North Yorkshire remains in the balance after a crucial meeting to decide their future was postponed.

The county council’s executive was due to take a decision on reductions in its subsidy for bus services and on an increase in charges for post-16 home to school and college transport today (Tuesday).

But speaking this week a council spokesman said: “Due to difficulties experienced providing access for members of the public to the report papers for the meeting via the county council’s website over the Christmas period, those decisions are now being postponed.”

A new date for the meeting has yet to be confirmed.

The county council has been consulting on plans to reduce bus subsidies by 25 per cent (£1.1m) a year as part of attempts to balance its books following cuts in central Government funding. It spends about £4.4m each year subsidising the 20 per cent of bus journeys that are not commercially viable to help rural communities.

Many school bus services would be affected and only provided for pupils who qualify for free home to school transport. In other cases services would remain but a minimum fare of £1 a journey introduced.

More than 2,000 people responded to public talks on the issue with many raising fears the move could harm their child’s access to education or would stop people being able to get to the shops, visit health centres or use other services.