Need for a properly funded Dales National Park bus service*

Say it is Sunday and you decide to visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park. After a week of hard work you are looking forward to fresh air, quiet, a bracing walk and that uplift of being out in nature.

You’ll catch the bus – but you discover that DalesBus is the only service available to get you and other car-free Sunday visitors to the Dales and back.

But, what if DalesBus, a Community Interest Company and subsidiary of Friends of the Dales, didn’t exist?

Nobody car-free could visit the National Park on a Sunday using public transport.

DalesBus, or Dales and Bowland CIC (a not-for-profit organisation), fulfils an important role in providing a basic network throughout the Yorkshire Dales area on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, with several routes operating all-year round.

Some 50,000 passengers, both locals and visitors use this vital lifeline every year. DalesBus also fulfils two of the mainstays of North Yorkshire Council’s objectives: to promote sustainable tourism and to reduce carbon emissions.

So, why must DalesBus exist on a shoestring budget, kept running by a tiny group of volunteers?

For 15 years DalesBus has been doing its bit for the planet; isn’t it time given the worsening crises of cost of living, the decline in wildlife and climate breakdown that North Yorkshire Council does its bit?

In the Council’s own Let’s Talk Local survey last year 53 per cent of responses put public transport as the improvement they’d most like to see. This was ahead of the cost of living, improving health and dealing with anti-social behaviour.

So where is the serious, long term support for public transport? Where is the alternative to all the cars clogging up the roads in our most precious landscapes?

Let’s have public money spent on public goods.

Keep tuning in for updates on our Campaign for the delivery of a sustainable transport network for the Yorkshire Dales.

*This news item is an edited version of a longer article by Chair of Trustees, Bruce McLeod featured in the Yorkshire Post, Country Week on 25 November 2023.

Photo: Service 884 to Malham by Dales and Bowland CIC