Julian is asking communities affected by the demise of Pennine buses to tell him about their experience of replacement services. The MP wants to work with those communities that rely on buses to monitor passenger numbers on replacement services in order to compile data on where there is a gap in bus provision so that he can make the case for a service that fulfils the local communities’ needs.
Julian also continues to make representations to North Yorkshire County Council and the Government in Westminster about the future of rural bus services.
“I will continue to impress upon the Council and Government how important bus services are to local communities, including children making their way to school, people commuting to work and elderly residents who rely exclusively on public transport to get around.
“I think it is really important that the Council, local councillors, community and I work together to make sure the service meets community needs. I will monitor the situation and will be more than happy to lobby to fill any gaps in bus services that are negatively affecting people following the discontinuation of Pennine services. If I am going to do this I need people to let me know detailed evidence of the problems and therefore ask people to contact me about their experiences.
“North Yorkshire County Council, who are responsible for bus services, will make the decision on how buses are funded, but if I can present evidence of where bus services are needed, I think it increases the likelihood of maintaining a service that fits the communities’ needs.”
Julian also raised the issue of rural bus services in the House of Commons on 8 May:
Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon) (Con):From Gargrave to Embsay and from Masham to Ripon, communities across Skipton and Ripon are concerned about cuts to rural bus services. What more can Ministers do to work with the most rural parts of our communities on buses? Will they look very favourably at North Yorkshire county council’s bid to the sustainable transport fund, which closes later this month?
Mr Goodwill: As a North Yorkshire Member myself, I am aware of some of the changes to rural bus services that are affecting my constituents as well as my hon. Friend’s. The fact remains that, outside London, 44% of the fare box that goes to bus operators is provided through various subsidies. We need to be more intelligent in targeting the services that people, particularly pensioners, use in rural areas.