Residents, commuters and local businesses have sung the praises of North Yorkshire’s pilot on-demand bus service which has been running for over two months.
The YorBus pilot was launched on July 1 and is running in the Ripon, Bedale and Masham area.
James D’Arcy lives in Ripon and, as he doesn’t drive, is reliant on public transport to travel to the city centre. The 25-year-old uses the YorBus service at least two times a week when volunteering at Ripon Workhouse Museum.
“It’s made life a lot easier because living in a village you don’t get many buses coming through,” said James. “The stop is right outside my house and it takes me to the city centre bus station so it couldn’t be more convenient.
“I either had to walk a mile and a half or get a taxi so I’m saving a lot of money and time. As we are getting closer to winter it means I can get on a nice warm bus. I can now go to other villages I couldn’t get to unless I could drive.
“The app is useful as it means you can book without having to ring up. You can also track how long the bus takes to get to you. It’s a very reliable service which I would definitely promote to others who would benefit from good public transport links.”
Since launching on July 1, there has been 1327 accounts created, with an average ride rating of 4.9 stars out of 5. Of the passengers, 63% are repeat users.
In July, 500 passengers were welcomed on-board, rising steadily to over 900 passengers in August. August 31 was the busiest day so far, seeing 78 passengers use the service.
YorBus has helped members of the public commute to work, attend hospital appointments, and allowed tourists to visit attractions in the pilot area.
Grantley Hall is a renowned luxury hotel and wellness retreat which welcomes thousands of visitors every year. It employs over 300 employees – many of whom live on site.
Chris Convery, Director of Human Resources, said: “The launch of YorBus has been a huge benefit to staff living on site as many don’t have a car. Before YorBus there was no form of public transport to the hall so it’s made the local area more accessible for them to explore the beautiful sights of North Yorkshire on their days off.
“Many staff from the surrounding area have also made use of YorBus. Again, there’s a number of my colleagues, particularly apprentices, who don’t have cars.
“Grantley Hall was built to give local people job opportunities so it’s important to have reliable transport links to and from the hall. It’s great value for money and a good alternative for those who are environmentally conscious.”
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, our Executive Member for Access, said: “We have introduced the YorBus pilot as our latest measure to ensure that our rural communities have access to reliable public transport. Early signs are very encouraging and we will continue to review the operation to help us to decide whether this demand-responsive service should be introduced elsewhere in the county.
"YorBus shows that we are committed to supporting residents in our rural areas.”
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.