A new bus service to link some of North Richmondshire’s more remote villages to the main towns and their services was launched this week (November 28).
The Little White Bus Upper Dales Community Minibus Service began running its revised Richmondshire Rover routes offering services to Scorton, Moulton, Middleton Tyas, Melsonby, Eppleby, Caldwell and Forcett for the first time. These will be run alongside those already serving Catterick Village, Tunstall and Scotton.
The services aim to link all these communities – some of which are very rural in nature and currently do not enjoy a regular bus service – with the market towns of Richmond, Barnard Castle, Leyburn, Bedale, Ripon and Northallerton. They also provide a comprehensive service to the new shopping and leisure centre at Princes Gate, Catterick Centre.
Depending on the timetable, residents will be able to hop on a bus and spend between 1.5 and 2.5 hours in these market towns, and then return safely home. Concessionary passes offering free travel may be used on all the journeys.
The new routes have been established with support and financial assistance from Richmondshire District Council’s North Richmondshire Community Partnership and North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities initiative. The Richmondshire Rover bus is a brand new 16 seater Mercedes Treka granted to The Little White Bus from the Department of Transport’s £25 million Community Minibus scheme.
Launched in 2011 with one minibus, The Little White Bus is based in Hawes and depends heavily on a team of volunteer drivers which includes several District and County Councillors. It now has ten buses and a 4×4 vehicle, and is on target to carry 60,000 passengers this year.
“We at The Little White Bus are delighted to extend our bus services to the smaller and more remote villages in North Richmondshire, and offer their residents the wide range of convenient travel opportunities to their key service centres that we have been providing to the deeply rural communities in the Upper Dales these last five years” said its founder and volunteer Managing Director, Councillor John Blackie.
“However the long term future of all the bus services provided by The Little White B us, including the new Richmondshire Rover, depends on the recruitment and retention of a large team of volunteer drivers, who can offer their help – from as little as half a day a month – to keep the buses on the road.
“Our bus drivers much prefer to drive people rather than fresh air around, so we hope there will be plenty of passengers hopping on and off their buses to keep them company.”
To get involved as a volunteer driver contact: The Little White Bus on 01969 667400 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org