Councillors force rethink on decision to cut Ryedale bus subsidies

Gazette & Herald: Revisiting bus cuts decision Revisiting bus cuts decision

THE decision to cut bus service subsidies by up to £2m, leaving many rural communities isolated, will be brought in front of a council scrutiny committee after a successful campaign for a rethink.

People throughout Ryedale were angry about the decision, which was made at a North Yorkshire County Council executive meeting last month, and concerns were raised that the cuts to 11 bus services in the area would leave less-able residents cut off from local amenities.

A group of councillors has since been working to get the county council’s transport, economy and environment overview and scrutiny committee to revisit the decision.

A minimum of six councillors was needed to agree that the decision was wrong in order for it to be called to a scrutiny meeting and they have now been successful.

One of those councillors was John Clark. He said he is pleased because it will give councillors the chance to hear views against the cuts again.

“We are pleased because it means they will all have another chance to listen to it and have another look at it,” he said.

“I will be asking them for a safety fund, which will hopefully put a little oil on a machine which is jammed.”

The “safety fund” which Councillor Clark will propose to county councillors at the meeting on Friday, could be used for supporting other services in areas which have been hit the hardest by the cuts.

Pickering is one area which will face hardship following the cuts, after it was announced that the town would lose its bus service completely from April.

There have also been suggestions of a council-backed minibus service for the town, residents would pay for.

Coun Clark said: “If they get a take-up and create a profit, it could go in to this fund, but I am going to ask them to put enough aside to make sure that if somewhere is short of £6,000 or £10,000, there is a fund for that.”

If the scrutiny committee decides that the decision should be looked at again, it could be referred back to the executive committee or to full council before the executive committee is asked to reassess its decision.

The meeting will take place this Friday, at County Hall, Northallerton, at 10am.

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