From David Ireton, Our County Councillor
As you know we have been working closely with Lancashire County Council to investigate and assess options for providing transport in the area once the current Stagecoach service 80/81 is withdrawn. I am pleased to be able to inform you that we have now reached an agreement with Lancashire County Council and Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire to secure a service that will continue to serve passengers in the area.
Obviously our starting point was to investigate the cost of maintaining a level of service and route similar to the existing service. However, this option was prohibitively expensive for both Lancashire County Council and North Yorkshire County Council.
The option that we have been able to come up with means that a service will operate Lancaster – Kirkby Lonsdale, which is partially commercial and partially subsidised by Lancashire County Council, this option covers Lancashire County Council but not North Yorkshire. However, this service will then be supported with a new service loop for North Yorkshire passengers from Ingleton via Burton in Lonsdale, High Bentham and Low Bentham 5 times a day Monday to Saturday. Whilst this does not provide a direct link to Lancaster it opens up connections from Ingleton to Settle, Kirkby Lonsdale and Lancaster. Direct journeys from High Bentham to Lancaster are available on the train.
Funding for this new link has been provided by North Yorkshire County Council for a 12 month period only at this stage, to enable the service to be properly evaluated. The more local focus of the service provides links that are not currently available and hopefully will encourage passenger growth which will be needed for the future success of the service.
As with any service changes there will be some residents who are more heavily impacted than others, and whilst it is not possible to provide a service that will suit all residents, the proposal links the communities to their nearest service centres for access to essential services and prevents the isolation of not having any replacement service at all.