I live just past Four Lane Ends, half way along Ruswarp Lane.
I have benefited from the evening 95 service for a number of years, using it to get to and from work (I work in a pub) or to get safely home after a night out.
A single fare into town costs £1.30. This I am willing to pay (albeit still a little on the dear side) as this is the standard fare that everyone has to pay to travel the same distance regardless of which service they use. The service 100, however, costs me an extra £1 on top of my usual fare. This is not voluntary.
In the recent Whitby Gazette article, it was mentioned that bus pass holders had the option of paying a voluntary £1 donation. At no point did it mention that everyone else must pay an extra £1 on top of their fare. This is compulsory, it is also why the service 100 is ‘deserted’.
Why on earth should I suddenly pay £2.30 to get home to Ruswarp Lane when for three years previously, it had been nearly half that amount? I take umbrage at the fact that I have no choice in the matter, (“you can always walk, love”), but I’d rather get home in one piece with the little I have left in my pocket than walk home at 11.30pm.
It angers me beyond belief that the pressure of ‘losing’ this service altogether is now on the passengers’ shoulders. It seems to me that Arriva have passed the buck to wriggle out of a tight spot. I feel penalised as Ruswarp Lane is part of Whitby and, quite frankly, fleeced every time I have to pay the extortionate fare. I can only imagine the level of uproar and protestation if any of the other town services suddenly charged an extra £1 on top of the regular fare. There’d be outcry - and rightly so.
Let’s not forget that when this new service was first introduced, it was an extra £2. Yes, it cost me £3.30 to get to Ruswarp Lane, single. It is only after the tireless efforts of one driver in particular that this amount was reduced to £1 extra. But £1 extra it remains and this is the problem.
Many, many people live in the villages just outside of Whitby, and I’m sure passenger numbers would rise and meet Arriva’s targets, as before, if only the fare was made reasonable again. Surely an alternative costing strategy can be agreed upon? As Councillor Joe Plant quite simply said, “other routes make a profit and they should compensate for this.” I couldn’t agree more. At the moment, the fare is unrealistic and unfair. I desperately want this evening service to keep running, but I can’t use it any more than I already do and charging the minority nearly double is not the answer.
I sincerely hope a different approach can be agreed upon and achieved so this vital service can carry on.
Gemma Brice by email