Arriva never wanted service to work claims councillor

ARRIVA never wanted the controversial pilot bus service between Whitby, Sleights and Robin Hood’s Bay to work, claims a local councillor.

Coun Joe Plant is pressing the bus operator to look again at its provision of the 100 route after the company said it may be withdrawn by Christmas despite agreeing to trial it for a year which should have taken it to April.

Arriva says it is not viable to keep running the bus because it has not attracted the passenger numbers it hoped for but Coun Plant says Arriva didn’t let the public know what was happening.

He had also arranged a meeting scheduled for last Thursday with Mark Ellis, Arriva’s commercial manager and Chris Roberts from North Yorkshire County Council’s transport department to discuss solutions but it was cancelled the day before.

Coun Plant said if Arriva weren’t interested in providing a service then NYCC and other agencies should look at local operators who are willing.

He said: “If Arriva don’t want to carry on the service it is about time we started looking at local bus companies to see if they want to deliver a service.

“The area does need a service, many people rely on them and it does not matter how many people use the bus it is critical to some people.

“At the end of the day they promised they will keep it for a year. If they finish it in December they have let the public down. It was a pilot scheme after all. You can’t just give up after a few months and say it is not working. If they wanted it to work it could have.”

Last year Arriva agreed to spend £25,000 on public transport in Whitby to make up for poor performance.

After a series of meetings with a working group from Whitby Town Council and bus users it was agreed that Arriva would run put on the service after NYCC withdrew funding for the route due to government funding cuts.

Mr Ellis said: “I am disappointed to note the councillor’s comment that the service could have been made to work.

“Everything from the timetable to the supplementary fare that was charged was done in consultation with the county councillors and in response to their suggestions.

“I would confirm that, at the request of officers from the county council, we are now looking to see if any part of the service at all can be salvaged from the route and timetable of the present 100. A decision will be reached by early October for implementation in January 2012.”