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Bus services in Malton, Norton and Pickering face axe in cuts crisis
RYEDALE residents have reacted angrily to proposals to axe bus services in their towns.
Regular user Paul Swain, who lives in Howe Road, Norton, said he was ‘livid’ when he was told of the plans and has already collected nearly 500 signatures calling on the authority to save the service.
“Me and my family have used this bus for 18 years. This service is a lifeline to many local people and is a well-used service for both paying and bus pass customers,” he said.
“Last year 45,000 people used this bus in Norton and Malton. How can it be justified to get rid of it? This service is invaluable to us,” he added.
Paul said: “People rely on the bus for hospital and doctor’s appointments, getting to work and school and to catch other buses and trains from the stations.
“It is also a valuable way for elderly people to get out of their houses and socialise. How many of them are going to end up as prisoners in their own homes?”
In Pickering, the service, run by Hayes Way Travel, operates at near capacity. Many of the passengers are pensioners or disabled people and they have concessionary tickets allowing them to travel free of charge.
But they are so determined to help keep the service that they are offering to pay a fare towards the running cost and have so far collected more than 300 signatures backing their plea.
One of the leaders of the campaign in the town, Doug Hewish, said: “It is a very well-used service, operating on the hour for part of the day until 3pm, and until 3.45pm on Saturdays.”
He added: “It serves a lot of old people and for those with wheelchairs and buggies, it’s a real lifeline for most of them.
“Without the bus service, many wouldn’t be leaving their homes because they could not afford taxis.”
Mr Hewish said: “If the passengers aren’t travelling to the town, business in the shops will go down too.
“The service is important to so many people. It improves their quality of life, and it’s a great community asset because everyone knows each other and the drivers are wonderful, often dropping people outside their homes and helping them with their shopping. It’s like having a private taxi service.”
A public meeting is being arranged later this month and Pickering Town Council is to discuss the issue at its next meeting.
Coun Stephen Jenson said: “It is a much valued asset in Pickering. So many people would become isolated if there is no bus service.”
Last month, members of the county council approved public consultations on a range of proposals designed to meet the new savings target.
They include a proposal to consider reducing the amount spent on bus subsidies by 25 per cent, or £1.1 million a year.
County Coun John Clark (Lib), who represents Pickering, said: “Losing the service would be a massive blow to the people of Pickering.
“But this is being forced on the county council by the Government which, I believe, is trampling on the elderly and vulnerable people who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Coun Elizabeth Shields (Lib Dem), county councillor for Norton, said she would be putting pressure on the council to maintain the service.
She said: “It is absolutely essential that this bus service is maintained, not just for the people of Malton and Norton but those who live in the surrounding villages and rely on the bus transport to get into town to do their shopping.”
North Yorkshire County Council is carrying out a consultation on its plan to cut £1.1 million from its bus subsidies as part of a mutli-million pound cut in its budget.
Doug Hayes of Hayes Way Travel said: “We are upset because of the time and effort we have put into making the service a success. “The service is under threat but we are looking to see if it is possible for us to accept fares from concessionary card holders, especially as they are keen to pay to keep the service going.”
He said the service was under review and his company was liaising with the county council.
The bus service now carries some 3,500 passengers a month, said Mr Hayes, with the majority being concessionary cardholders.
The consultation runs until November 25.
Details are available online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/busconsultation, by phoning the customer service centre on 08458 727374, or by visiting any of the county council’s libraries.
To sign Paul Swain’s petition, visit
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