Some of North Yorkshire’s much-loved tourist attractions have become more accessible thanks to new virtual stops provided by the county’s pilot on-demand bus service.
Launched on July 1 by ourselves, the YorBus pilot is under way in the Ripon, Bedale and Masham area.
After listening to user feedback, it was clear particular venues would benefit from closer pick-up or drop-off stops not on other bus routes.
A virtual stop was added at Thorp Perrow following feedback from YorBus roadshows in the summer. It is popular with tourists all year round, and has seen a high number of users over the school holidays; including the Halloween season.
Grantley Hall staff have been regular users of YorBus for those travelling to work, as well as those who live on site and want to explore the local area on their days off. They recently requested a virtual stop by their staff entrance.
Another has been added at Mowbray Hill Cottages near the village of Well after users found the walk to the nearest bus stop too far. Similar requests have been made in Low Grantley, with a virtual stop coming soon.
Since launching on July 1, 3,182 journeys have been completed and the service has an average ride rating of 4.8 stars out of 5. There are 390 active users; 65% of which are repeat users, with 31% going on to complete five or more journeys.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “The introduction of new, virtual stops has proved very popular with our passengers, and represents a positive enhancement to our pilot YorBus service. We listened to feedback from our users to accommodate the request, and have been delighted with the take-up since they launched.
“Over the busy summer season YorBus transported tourists to various attractions in the pilot area, ensuring rural communities have access to reliable public transport. It has also been vital in helping people commute to work and make essential journeys including to and from hospital appointments.
“We will continue to review the demand-responsive service to help us decide whether it should be introduced elsewhere in the county.”
The service allows passengers to book a ride though a dedicated app created by Via, the leader in TransitTech. It runs from 6.55am to 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. There is a flat fare for using the service; £1.20 for adults and 65p for children between the ages of 5-17.
Customers can choose to pay with card or cash on the bus. Children under 5 can travel for free and concessionary bus passes can be used on the service, subject to existing Terms and Conditions.
YorBus is fully accessible, with low floor access and a ramp access for users of wheelchairs, pushchairs and those with mobility difficulties.
Via works with more than 200 partners across the globe and in the UK, including Transport for Wales, Milton Keynes Council, Stagecoach, and Go-Coach to power flexible, technology-enabled solutions that increase efficiency, reduce operational cost and expand access to public transport.