In 1958, the rail link from Middlesbrough via Loftus and Guisborough ceased because the line was deemed too expensive to maintain.
The lines from Whitby to Scarborough and Whitby to York were also axed during the 1960’s leaving buses as the sole means of public transport as they were viewed as a cheaper alternative.
Now the bus services that replaced these lines are being severely curtailed as it the subsidy is cut. The buses that serve Whitby, Ruswarp and Sleights will cease after 7pm and not run at all on Sundays. The service between Whitby and Loftus will cease after 7pm as will the service between Whitby and Scarborough. I can only presume that the service from Middlesbrough will be similarly affected. I notice your article does not mention the Sunday and bank holiday services on the latter routes, but I imagine that these will be drastically reduced if not withdrawn altogether.
The Esk Valley rail link to Middlesbrough doesn’t run at all on Sunday and its meagre service during the week means that it is not a viable alternative to either commute by either in the morning or the evening. So what’s the alternative to those of us who haven’t got a car? Well, precisely nothing. Unless, of course, you can afford a taxi from Loftus or Scarborough, that is.
I know someone who relies on the Whitby to Loftus service to get to work late in the evening. He cannot drive due to health reasons so will either have to move or give up his job. I am sure that there will be many others similarly affected, especially if they work in Middlesbrough or Scarborough working shifts.
Councillors Tindall, Kenyon and Plant say that Arriva have a duty to provide a service, however, having heard John Fozzard, the Arriva spokesman, on BBC Tees talking about service cuts in Hartlepool, he stated that Arriva are a commercial operation and if the subsidy isn’t there then the service cannot run.
It would be interesting to hear what the local MP (who lives in York, by the way) has to say about this and the detrimental effect it will have on the area. No doubt, he will toe the party line and not offer a crumb of comfort to the areas of his constituency concerned. I suppose the idea is that Dave’s “Big Society” is supposed to step in and save the day for nothing.
Nick Emery by email