End of the road for bus services

North Yorkshire County Councillors Herbert Tindall, Jane Kenyon and Joe Plant following Wednesday's meeting
North Yorkshire County Councillors Herbert Tindall, Jane Kenyon and Joe Plant following Wednesday's meeting

THE contracts for bus routes in Whitby and the surrounding area which were under threat of being withdrawn because of cuts have now been terminated.

It confirms fears for people in outlying villages who don’t have access to private vehicles and weekend and shift workers who rely on public transport outside the usual nine to five hours.

Hundreds of people signed petitions objecting to the cuts but their campaign has proved fruitless.

At a full meeting of North Yorkshire County Council on Wednesday, which lasted for five hours, members agreed that the £600,000 it provides towards the evening and weekend services would have to be scrapped in a bid to cut expenditure.

Arriva confirmed last night that the following contracts had been terminated 5a Mon to Sat evening journeys from 2013 between Whitby and Loftus; 5a Sun evening journeys from 1913 between Whitby and Loftus; 93 daily evening journeys from 1930 between Whitby and Scarborough; 91 Mon to Sat evening journeys from 1830; 92 Mon to Sat evening journeys from 1800; 94 Mon to Sat evening journeys from 1850; 95 Mon to Sat evening journeys from 1910; 91, 92, 94, 95 all Sunday journeys

John Fozzard, Arriva’s marketing manager told the Gazette: “North Yorkshire County Council issued various contracts under competitive tender arrangements and Arriva operate some of these contracts on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council.

“These contracts have now been terminated, therefore the journeys will have to be cancelled as the revenue taken on these journeys would not cover the costs of running the buses. This decision has been made solely by North Yorkshire County Council and not by Arriva.”

Whitby’s local representatives on the County Council Couns Joe Plant, Jane Kenyon and Herbert Tindall had said they couldn’t back the cuts being proposed by their own council.

But following Wednesday’s vote they said they welcomed the chance to be part of meetings with Arriva - the principal bus operator in the town - and wanted to work with them on any services that could be saved.

In a joint statement they said: “Arriva is a commercial operator charged with the responsibility of providing a public service.

“The luxury of a public subsidy in today’s financial climate is a luxury which Arriva cannot expect to continue but in no way does it lesson their responsibility to provide the public with a service.

“We will examine with them those routes and work to ensure that an evening and weekend service is available for those who need it.”

One of those options includes increasing fares to raise more money.

NYCC said: “Although the decision represents a subsidy reduction and not a cut in services, the county council recognises that it may well lead to the removal of associated services.”

Executive member for passenger transport Coun Clare Wood said in the current econmic climate the authority had no choice and “deeply regrets” the subsidy cut but hope Arriva would agree to maintain a minimal service.