Transdev has said it is reviewing the 770 service that runs between Harrogate and Wetherby.
They have considered two options but have said that regrettably they will be dropping the section of the route that runs past the Rudding Park hotel and Follifoot – this would make the route a Harrogate to Wetherby direct service.
Transdev have confirmed that around 40 people use the service each day.
A spokesperson for Transdev said:
Our regulatory body, the Traffic Commissioner, has set for the UK bus industry some challenging reliability and punctuality targets. We have no objection to these parameters as quite rightly our passengers expect their buses to arrive on time.
The level of traffic congestion along the Wetherby Road in Harrogate, in Wetherby town centre and in Leeds city centre means that route 770 has struggled to achieve these targets. We must therefore take action to improve matters.
Two choices are open to us.
Firstly we can introduce additional resources to route 770, thereby allowing an increased amount of time (above the current 3 hours 30 minutes) to complete a journey. The financial performance of route 770, which has worsened following the arrival of competition from another operator between Harrogate and Wetherby, means that this is not a viable way forward.
Secondly, we can reduce the mileage to be completed during this period of time and it is this latter course of action that we have chosen. By running direct between Harrogate and Wetherby, omitting Rudding Park and Follifoot, we can save on average 10 minutes per round trip to Leeds which will go a long way towards restoring levels of punctuality that our customers expect.
In such circumstances a responsibility falls to the local authority, in this case North Yorkshire County Council, to consider what action, if any, they wish to take to provide a replacement facility – I understand this process is underway.
This was a difficult decision to make – we do not enjoy contracting our business.
We must however strive to provide the best possible quality of service to the vast majority of our customers.
A spokesperson for the North Yorkshire County Council said:
There are procedures in place for subsidies in cases such as this but we are not currently considering it.
Peter Banks, Managing Director of Rudding Park said:
As one of the largest tourism businesses in the district, employing over 200 staff, public transport links are vital. 60 members of our staff rely on this link to travel to work.
Without it our business will be more difficult and costly to run and the cancellation of this service may potentially affect the development of the business and increases in employment.
Connexions also run a bus service between Harrogate and Wetherby, X70, but this is already a direct service.
Set against the back drop of the North Yorkshire County Council looking to find costs savings across all areas, it is unlikely that budget would easily be found to support the route being lost.