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Hope for rural bus services in North Yorkshire?

Hope for rural bus services in North Yorkshire?

Published at 6:01am 14th October 2015. (Updated at 12:18pm 21st October 2015)

North Yorkshire County Council says it has brokered deals with a number of bus operators in a plan to maintain a larger proportion of subsidised services at a lower cost.

The authority is continuing discussions with other operators in order to retain existing service levels.

It's also proposing to use its own fleet of buses more, as well as expanding community car schemes.

A decrease in Government funding means that the council is proposing to reduce bus subsidies by £500,000.

Although 85% of bus journeys in North Yorkshire are made on commercial services, which are self-financing, the council still provides over £2 million per year to fund additional services.

A 12-week consultation on reducing subsidies received over 1,200 written responses.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Highways and Public Transport, said: "As a result of these consultations, we appreciate more than ever how important our network of rural bus services is to those people who use them.

"We understand people's concerns about protecting access to essential services and maintaining social contact.

"Retaining a bus network across a large rural county like ours is crucially important to those of our residents who have little or no access to other means of transport. Following the feedback we received, we have been able to make changes aimed at addressing some of the issues which have been raised with us.

"The Government's budget reductions have meant we need to look at every area of council expenditure. Reducing the amount we spend on local bus services presents challenges, but we are fortunate that North Yorkshire bus operators have a can-do approach which extends beyond their commercial networks. By working closely with these companies, these proposals would retain much of our current network at a lower overall cost.

"Part of the solution is to attract more fare-paying passengers and so there is an important role for local people to help keep their bus service by using it on a regular basis."