Transport across the Dales is set to improve with news that an eighth Little White Bus will soon be up and running.
A brand new minibus will be added the Hawes based fleet – funded by the Department of Transport’s Community Transport Minibus Fund.
The lack of good transport links was one of the issues raised at Richmondshire District Council’s Rural Summit last November. Local councillors and residents raised concerns about rural isolation – and the exodus of young people from the Dales unable to afford to live there due to a lack of affordable housing and good transport links.
The new £60,000 16 seater minibus – which is on course to be delivered in June – will serve the North Richmondshire area, an area seriously devoid of bus services serving its main villages and scattered settlements.
A list of volunteer drivers is currently being drawn up and the Little White Bus bookings office in Hawes is preparing to expand its call handling facilities with a new switchboard and extra lines – as the first point of contact for the new North Richmondshire service.
The new bus will bring to eight the number of buses now operated by the Little White Bus Company.
A team of 35 voluntary drivers are supported by a small number of paid part time drivers to transport people between the Upper Dales and the towns of Richmond, Reeth, Catterick, Leyburn and Bedale.
The service was set up in 2011 and with the expansion of its services in 2015 is expected to carry around 30,000 passengers a year. It is funded by North Yorkshire County Council, passenger fares and the public spirited volunteers.