North Yorkshire has an opportunity to take advantage of funding to improve bus services following the announcement of a package of measures by the Government.
The county is currently looking at two elements of the package – funding for supported bus services and the Rural Mobility Fund, which is to trial demand-responsive transport – and must submit proposals early in March.
North Yorkshire County Council is now seeking suggestions for proposals from across the county.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “We welcome this opportunity to increase support for local transport, on top of the £1.5m a year the county council currently spends to subsidise bus services.
“North Yorkshire faces particular challenges around public transport because of its sparse population and the deeply rural nature of large parts of the county, so we’re looking for solutions that can make a difference.
“We are in contact with key stakeholders, including bus operators, community transport providers and district and parish councils and are inviting them to submit proposals, but we want to ensure awareness of the opportunity is as wide as possible so that any interested parties can come forward with proposals.”
The funding for supported bus services is being provided to local authorities to help to provide more bus services, for example by:
- improving existing services, for instance increasing evening or weekend frequencies, or supporting additional seasonal services in tourist areas;
- restoring lost bus routes where most needed; or
- supporting new services or extensions to current services, for example to access new housing, job opportunities or healthcare facilities.
North Yorkshire has been asked to submit proposals to allocate £757,000 in 2020/21.
The main aim of the Rural Mobility Fund is to trial demand-responsive transport that works better than traditional transport for residents of rural and suburban areas. Demand-responsive solutions would either fill a gap or complement existing timetabled bus services. Services need to show that they can help residents to access education, work, healthcare and other services, and enable greater social inclusion. North Yorkshire can bid for funds from this scheme.
Proposals must be submitted by 9 March 2020. See further information.