EVENING buses between Scarborough and Hunmanby will no longer run after April 16, bus chiefs have revealed – and there is little propsect of getting even one return service reinstated.
North Yorkshire County Council, which effectively ended the service by cutting the bus company’s subsidy, have responded to overwhelming public criticism by putting the ball in the court of East Yorkshire Motor Services.
Earlier this year, the council agreed a budget strategy which included a £600,000 reduction to bus subsidies across the county, primarily for Sunday and evening services.
A statement said: “The reduction represents just under 10 per cent of the £6.5 million that the county council spends on financial support for public transport services. Around a quarter of the county’s bus network, carrying more than four million passengers every year, is funded by the county council.
“Many of the services concerned are linked to successful commercial services and it is hoped that the operators will see the benefits of ensuring that their customers have access to a comprehensive range of journeys. Clearly this will be a decision for the service providers and the county council will work closely with them to promote actions which will mitigate the loss of service on the ground.”
However, Bob Rackley, EYMS’s commercial manager, said it was simply not economically viable to reinstate, say, one evening return service on the 121 route, even if more people ended up using it. He said: “If you’re going to keep one bus on, it would still cost an additional driver and the figures just don’t stack up, unfortunately.”
Moreover, he added, there was no spare cash in the kitty due to the impact of reductions in funding for the concessionary fares scheme and recent fuel price increases. “With the concessionary fares cutbacks, we’re just not in a position to put ‘new’ services on,” he said.
On the positive side, Mr Rackley said the withdrawal of evening services on the 121 route should not have knock-on effects on the commercial viability of other, remaining services, so there should not be additional cuts, as there have been for some services in Scarborough town.
Hertford ward councillor and public transport campaigner Nick Harvey said studies had shown that 40 per cent of evening bus users are travelling to and from work. He added: “North Yorkshire County Council has admitted the cuts are not about low passenger numbers on many of these routes, as they do not fail the subsidy per passenger journey criteria. Once again Scarborough district with its low household income, many jobs with anti-social hours and weekend work will bear the brunt of the suffering.”