Councillors have welcomed the news that the City of York Council has stepped in to save two local bus routes, which were put under threat after the operator announced the plans to withdraw them from the 10 December.
Connexions, the bus operating company that runs the 412 service between Wetherby, and York through Tockwith and Rufforth, as well as the number 13 between Haxby and Copmanthorpe has confirmed that both services have been saved thanks to the investment of City of York Council. This will guarantee that both services will operate until the end of March, when the new short term contract will be reviewed.
Earlier in November, Connexions gave notice to withdraw the 412 service and the number 13 Saturday service from the 10th December. The reasons for the service axe given included, serious concerns over its profitability, which are exacerbated by the current driver shortage, reduced passenger numbers since the pandemic, and the fact that the majority of passengers are entitled to concessions.
Councillors have welcomed the news but warned that the long term sustainability of the services is still at risk if Government doesn’t step up to support the bus industry.
Councillor Anne Hook, local councillor for Rural West York ward, commented:
“This will come as a major relief to so many Rufforth residents who were facing the loss of the only bus service they currently have.
“It’s crucial that as many people as possible now use the service to ensure that once March comes around the operator can see the benefits and financial case for sustaining the service in the long term.
“This intervention by the Council is, however, no substitute for a sustainable long term approach to running bus services which are facing unprecedented challenges.”
“Government really needs to wake up and act now before it’s too late.”
Haxby and Wigginton Councillor Andrew Hollyer added: “Thank you to the 500 people that signed our petition and filled in our survey, the responses made clear how much this service is valued by many local residents.
“We now need the Government to step up to provide the on-going funding needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the service beyond March 2023.”