Axe set to fall on trial bus service

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A BUS service which was being operated on a year-long trial basis around the Whitby area will be withdrawn on New Year’s Day - after just nine months.

Bus operator Arriva says the 100 service, which operated between Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, is nowhere near as successful as it had expected it to be and was no longer economically viable.

The firm had warned months ago the bus service faced the axe and despite a brief upturn in passenger numbers, it still hasn’t been enough.

Mark Ellis, the commercial manager for Arriva, spoke exclusively to the Whitby Gazette, saying the firm was “disappointed that it has not worked.

“It was a suggestion from the town council committee supported by the councillors who said it would work but unfortunately it has not,” he said,

“Saying we did not want it to work is not true.

“We were trying to do something groundbreaking, there was no problem with reliability and we did a lot to promote it.”

The service came about after Arriva donated £25,000 to the town of Whitby as compensation for previous problems with public transport.

It was decided to use the money to maintain a link between Whitby and the outlying villages after North Yorkshire County Council said it would have to stop subsidising bus services due to cuts in government funding.

However, due to low passenger numbers the service wasn’t making enough money to become sustainable.

Mr Ellis added: “We have not got to the end of the year and the money is spent, we are well past the £25,000.

“For it to be commercial we need to be carrying about 20 people an hour. At the moment and on some nights we are lucky if we did that one evening.

“The weekends were busier but it is still not enough to cover the cost of running the bus and we do appreciate there were a number of people who do rely on the service.”