The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company was established in February 2007.
News about our initiatives to benefit local residents and visitors to the Yorkshire Dales appears below.
Early Day Motion 650
An Early Day Motion was raised by John Grogan, MP for Keighley, on 5th December 2017 commending the work of the company:
That this House congratulates The Dales and Bowland Community Interest Group, a subsidiary of the Yorkshire Dales Society, on its 10th anniversary; acknowledges the work that this not-for-profit company has undertaken with its DalesBus service to deliver affordable public passenger transport to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland every Sunday and Bank Holiday throughout the year; notes that the continuation of the DalesBus service is essential so that less traffic enters the National Parks; further notes the mental and physical health benefits to West and North Yorkshire residents which the DalesBus offers by improving mobility and combatting isolation and loneliness, as well as the economic benefits it brings to pubs, cafes, shops and other businesses in the Yorkshire Dales National Park; notes that in 2017 the Group wants to reinstate the Summer Sunday Nidderdale Service which will give people from West Yorkshire direct access to Washburndale and Nidderdale and serve no less than seven reservoirs; welcomes the continuing financial support that West Yorkshire gives to DalesBus; and calls on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Yorkshire Water to consider doing likewise.
New Partnership Saves Winter Sunday Buses in Nidderdale
A recent campaign by Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Nidderdale Plus (a local charity devoted to the support of communities in Nidderdale) and Dales & Bowland CIC means Nidderdale’s number 24 bus service will not be axed now for commercial reasons and will run every day in the winter months after all.
After a successful meeting in early September, with The Harrogate Bus Company, Dales & Bowland CIC and new sponsors Harrogate Spring Water, a delighted chairman of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff paid tribute to everyone in the Dales who had made the campaign victorious. He said: “We had to raise £4,000 towards the cost of retaining a Sunday bus service in the winter and people responded magnificently."
The new sponsorship deal with a high-profile
firm known for its community support means the Pateley Bridge to Harrogate
service will continue to run on Winter Sundays for at least two more years.
Alex Hornby, Chief Executive of The Harrogate Bus Company, said: “We have always been keen to find a way to bring security and stability to our important route 24 through Nidderdale, and promised we would work with the community to identify ways to bring about improvements. This new, groundbreaking partnership with Harrogate Water, brought about through our relationship and ongoing consultation with Nidderdale Chamber of Trade and DalesBus, will secure the winter Sunday service and will neatly lead the way into exciting improvements to the route.”
James Cain OBE, Chief Executive of Harrogate Water Brands said: “We are delighted to support a local campaign that will secure a vital community transport link. We look forward to exploring how we can further support this service for both the local community and this beautiful part of Yorkshire.”
Chamber of Trade Chairman Keith Tordoff said saving the bus service would give a boost the whole community, as well as local businesses, commuters and tourists. He said: “There were exciting ideas at the meeting to improve the service and make it more popular. For example, there will be changes to the timetable so that it fits services from Leeds and Bradford. We're very hopeful this is just the start of the story not just a one-off. Everyone at the meeting could see the benefit of supporting this wonderful bus service in Nidderdale."
Paul Chattwood, Commercial Director of Dales &
Bowland CIC, said: “We are keen to help develop the service as part of the
popular DalesBus network, and hope that other companies will be interested in
providing support for other parts of the network to help keep the beautiful
Yorkshire Dales accessible for everyone in an environmentally-friendly way. This
new partnership builds on our successful partnership with
to provide the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer service.”
Funding to support the Winter Sunday buses has also been provided by North Yorkshire County Council, Pateley Bridge Town Council, Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, and individual donors.
The new Sunday bus timetable, effective from 1st October 2017, can be downloaded here (PDF file). It offers three return trips, with the first leaving Harrogate at 1015 to provide easier morning bus connections from services 36, 70 and 747 from West Yorkshire and the last bus returning from Pateley Bridge at 1625 - hopefully a more popular time, especially in winter.
Fundraising Campaign to Save Winter Sunday Buses in Nidderdale
Bus service 24 running between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge has for many years provided a valuable daily service for local communities and walkers and other visitors; a great way of exploring this most beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales. Sadly, declining passenger numbers in recent years have caused Transdev to cut some lightly used morning and evening weekday journeys, and announce plans to withdraw the winter Sunday service as it is no longer commercially viable.
However, Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Nidderdale Plus (a local charity devoted to the support of communities in Nidderdale) and Dales & Bowland CIC have launched a fundraising campaign to save the winter Sunday service, keeping it as part of the wider winter DalesBus network.
The proposed new Sunday timetable will offer three return trips, with the first leaving Harrogate at around 1015 to provide easier morning bus connections from services 36, 70 and 747 from West Yorkshire and the last bus returning from Pateley Bridge at around 1625 - hopefully a more popular time, especially in winter.
To keep the Sunday service going all year round for a targeted two-year period, we need to raise around £4,000 to match-fund offers of help from elsewhere.
To raise this money, quickly, we have launched a special Just Giving webpage. You can contribute now by going to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nidderdalesundaybuses
Annual Report 2016/17
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company's annual report for 2016/17 is available to download here (PDF file).
Tenth Anniversary Year News
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company celebrates its tenth year of managing the Sunday DalesBus network this summer and everyone is invited along for the ride.
The company has responded to cuts in traditional public sector funding for bus services by exploring new fundraising avenues which have kept the buses on the road and created new opportunities for 2017. Two Crowdfunding campaigns have raised over £10,000 whilst a folk music concert in Otley organised by Friends of DalesBus recently generated £670. Many donations have come from people who don’t use the buses but feel strongly that access to the National Park should not be restricted to car users. Acorn Stairlifts are welcomed aboard as the new sponsors of the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer from Northallerton to Hawes whilst Northern Powergrid have helped to save the Northern Dalesman from Teesside. The Northern Dalesman from Lancashire via Ribblehead Station (for connections off the Leeds – Settle – Carlisle train) is sponsored once again by the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line and Northern, starting in Preston this year via Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale.
Generous support from the National Trust means that more buses will be offered between York, Boroughbridge, Ripon and Fountains Abbey whilst a new minibus service will link Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks with Pateley Bridge.
The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company and Bentham Line Community Rail Partnership have tapped the new Northern Seed-Corn Fund, established as part of the new rail franchise, to support the Malham Tarn Shuttle and the new Bowland Explorer, linking Lancaster, Bentham Station and Clitheroe Interchange with the Forest of Bowland. Friends of DalesBus continue to support services including a streamlined service from West Yorkshire to Hawes via Wharfedale and Aysgarth.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority remains committed to DalesBus and supports key services from West Yorkshire to the National Park to enable urban residents to maintain their health and wellbeing in the Dales, as well as publishing the popular DalesBus timetable booklet. This year Dewsbury and Bradford will have a through Cravenlink service to Skipton and Malham, connecting at Ilkley with DalesBus 874 running between Wakefield, Leeds, Bolton Abbey, Grassington and Buckden.
DalesBus continues to see passenger numbers grow on key routes but sadly has had to trim back some less popular services in the Eastern Dales.
Full details of the 2017 network are available now at www.dalesbus.org with printed timetables available later in April.
Sponsors Needed to Get Family Buses on the Road
£3,000 is needed to operate our
Family Experience buses this summer.
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company, a social enterprise owned by The Yorkshire Dales Society, has teamed up with community groups across Bradford and Keighley to give less well-off families in those areas a rural treat but lack of government funding is hampering getting the project on the road.
The Community Interest Company will run the low-fare family buses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the main summer holidays, in addition to our usual network of public Sunday bus services, if we can get the money we need. We will also organise free family walks, visits and events such as pond dipping in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park staff and volunteers.
“The National Park belongs to everyone to be enjoyed, not just those who own a family Volvo,” said Colin Speakman who is Vice President of the Yorkshire Dales Society as well as managing director of Dales & Bowland CIC.
He added: “The Government’s recent 8 Point Plan for National Parks has agreed that a priority must be to get younger people and people from urban areas out into these magnificent areas for health giving physical activity in beautiful and inspiring surroundings but unfortunately, the Government has not made any new financial resources available to make this possible.
“For this reason, we are launching an appeal to individuals and businesses to help it happen. Any contributions would be welcome big or small but bigger amount sponsors would also get their logos and names recognised.”
Anyone interested in sponsorship or helping out should email email@example.com .
Wensleydale Flyer Saved
A threatened bus route through the Dales managed by the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company has been saved, thanks to the support of a local crowd-funding campaign and funding from Yorkshire-based mobility specialist Acorn Stairlifts. Acorn has pledged cash to keep Wensleydale Flyer service 856 running throughout the whole of 2017. Without the funding the year-round service was facing an uncertain future and likely to cease operating by Easter next year.
The bus, which will be renamed the ‘Acorn Wensleydale Flyer’, runs on Sundays and Bank Holidays between Northallerton and Gayle, a hamlet a mile south of Hawes. It stops at towns and villages all along the route, including Ainderby Steeple, Leeming Bar, Bedale, Constable Burton, Leyburn, Aysgarth, Bainbridge and Hawes. The full 40-mile journey lasts around and hour and 15 minutes, passing through some of England’s most spectacular scenery, was the focus of a recent feature in the travel section of The Guardian newspaper (www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/oct/18/wensleydale-flyer-sunday-bus-closure-walking-holidays) and features in a popular book entitled “Bus Pass Britain: 50 of the nation’s favourite bus journeys”. It is the sister service to the DalesBus ‘Northern Dalesman’ service recently featured on the BBC4 programme “All Aboard! The Country Bus".
About three-quarters of those regularly using the Wensleydale Flyer are local residents, and for many of them it is a weekly lifeline. The service is also popular with visitors who use it for walking and sightseeing trips, visiting attractions such as Aysgarth Falls and the Wensleydale Creamery at Hawes. At various points the service also links up with other bus routes and rail services, including the restored Wensleydale Railway heritage line at Leeming Bar, making it part of the wider rural transport infrastructure.
Most of the Sunday DalesBus network, including the Wensleydale Flyer, is managed by the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit subsidiary of registered charity the Yorkshire Dales Society. It relies on contributions and donations from public bodies, individuals and local businesses to keep its buses running, as ticket sales alone do not cover the costs.
A crowdfunding website set up by Low Mill Guest House in Bainbridge in support of the Wensleydale Flyer managed to hit its £6,500 target, demonstrating the value which people put on the service. This support has enabled the Wensleydale Flyer to keep running through until the start of the Acorn funding, and will also help provide a connecting bus between Hawes and Garsdale Station on Sundays, Sunday demand-responsive minibus connections to/from Upper Wensleydale villages and give the Wensleydale Flyer service a financial safety net for the future.
Colin Speakman is Hon. Vice-President of the Yorkshire Dales Society and one of a dedicated band of volunteers who have been fighting to keep the Wensleydale Flyer alive. He said: “This is a brilliant bus service and so important to the people of Wensleydale and their visitors for work, shopping and leisure. Without this vital service there will be no way people without access to a car can get in or out of the Dale anywhere between Northallerton, Leyburn and Hawes on Sundays, making many local people isolated and visitors unable to come for the weekend.”
Based at Steeton, West Yorkshire, Acorn Stairlifts will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017 and is delighted to sponsor the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer throughout the year as part of its celebrations. Founded in Bradford, Acorn has grown to become the world’s largest company concerned solely with the manufacture, direct-to-consumer sales and installation of stairlifts. Its British-made stairlifts are exported to more than 80 countries, including America where it is the recognised market leader. For more about Acorn Stairlifts and its award-winning products, visit www.acornstairlifts.co.uk
The Dales & Bowland CIC is still fundraising to enable the continuation of the DalesBus Sunday network in Summer 2017, and would welcome support from other local or national businesses. To find out more about how you might be able to help support this valuable service please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends of DalesBus also welcome online donations to their Bus Operating Fund, which helps fund DalesBus services.
Bus Services Bill
Dales & Bowland CIC director Dr John Disney was invited to attend the Transport Select Committee's review of the draft Bus Services Bill in September 2016. He took the opportunity to raise concerns about the funding for rural buses, and in particular the need to provide better reimbursement to bus companies for the carriage of concessionary passengers.
All Aboard! The Country Bus
Wow! What a reaction to “All Aboard! The Country Bus” on August Bank Holiday Monday 2016.
Viewing figures from ratings agency show that at its peak, 973,000 people were watching the BBC4 programme, the latest slow travel programme to hit our screens.
Nearly a million viewers! Great credit must go to The Garden Productions Ltd for producing what must be one of the best films ever made about the Dales landscape and capturing it so perfectly in the late Spring sunshine.
But who is behind the Northern Dalesman service? Well it’s the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (D&BCIC) - a volunteer-run subsidiary of the Yorkshire Dales Society, a registered charity. It is a social enterprise which has been managing the DalesBus network of bus services in the Yorkshire Dales area since 2007. The Directors plan, manage and market the network themselves, and competitively tender the operation of the buses to reputable local companies About 14 different services run during the summer months including the Northern Dalesman, Ingleborough Pony and Nidderdale Rambler – and about 5 services all year round including the Yorkshire Dalesman, the Wensleydale Flyer and the Cravenlink.
The economics of rural bus operation are such that on most services the income from ticket sales and the reimbursement rates for concessionary pass users is insufficient to cover operating costs. Directors have to work hard to secure funding support from organisations, businesses and individuals to keep the network running.
There is currently an urgent appeal for funding for their 856 Wensleydale Flyer winter service which runs between Hawes, Leyburn and Northallerton providing the only Sunday bus link in the area. If new funding cannot be secured in the next few days then sadly the service will end in October, leaving local residents isolated and denying potential visitors access to the area.
The company is also seeking offers of funding for Summer 2017 and beyond to secure the DalesBus network, including the Northern Dalesman service featured in the programme.
Small donations to the Bus Operating Fund may be made via the Friends of DalesBus website. For larger donations and offers of longer term funding support then please contact email@example.com to discuss.
Further information about the Northern Dalesman and the DalesBus network can be found at www.dalesbus.org/thecountrybus.
Annual Report 2015/16
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company's annual report for 2015/16 is available to download here (PDF file).
Summer DalesBus Services 2016
Details of the network of Summer Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services in the Yorkshire Dales managed by the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company are now available on the DalesBus website. Some Sunday buses continue to run all year round and these are joined by seasonal extra buses for summer starting on 1st May 2016.
Thanks to continued support from our major funding partners: West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Sustainable Development Fund, the National Trust and the Friends of DalesBus the core network will be largely similar to last year. Support from these partners and other organisations will allow a comprehensive network to continue to be offered throughout the Dales.
We'd also like to gratefully acknowledge the support of our other funders for the 2016 season: Outhwaites the Hawes Ropemakers, Leyburn Town Council, Hawes & High Abbottside Parish Council, the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, the Yorkshire Dales Society, Bolton Estate, Aysgarth Falls Hotel, Bolton Abbey Estate, Pateley Bridge Mayors Fund, Ripley Parish Council and Northern,
Funding for DalesBus
Most of the Sunday and Bank Holiday bus network in the Yorkshire Dales is now managed by the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company, together with some Saturday buses. This volunteer-run company, owned by the Yorkshire Dales Society, is most grateful to those organisations who have already confirmed their continued support for DalesBus in 2016-17, including the Yorkshire Dales Society, the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line, the Friends of DalesBus and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, but is urgently seeking additional funding for the future. Anyone who may be able to assist or is interested in finding out more is asked to get in touch by email as soon as possible.
The Friends of DalesBus also support DalesBus and would welcome any donations online via PayPal to their Bus Operating Fund (for any larger donations of £250 or over where Gift Aid may be available please contact us before donating).
Why do we need financial support?
The economics of rural bus operation are such that a level of financial support is required to cover operating costs (there are no overhead costs as the company is managed by volunteers) and D&BCIC is now facing a serious funding shortfall beyond March 2017. The net cost of operating the current DalesBus network is in the region of £80,000 annually and up to now a significant proportion of this has been funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund but this fixed term funding ended in 2015. Unless we can secure new funding then part of the current DalesBus network will be under threat in 2017.
We recognise the need to improve the sustainability of our services and have increased fares, maintained a high level of marketing, and reduced the number of operating days of some of our summer services. These measures have resulted in improved financial performance with one service now running on a commercial basis and another with a significantly reduced subsidy. We are also exploring new funding options, contacting local businesses for support and making it easier for individuals to make donations.
What are the benefits?
We know how important DalesBus is for not only local people and businesses in the Dales, but also for visitors from surrounding areas and to tourists:
It provides access to the Dales from the inner city, areas of deprivation, and a range of ethnic backgrounds - people without access to their own transport living in the towns and cities that in many cases would otherwise be unable to visit these areas - people on low incomes, older people and young people without access to their own transport as well as many overseas visitors.
It encourages more active lifestyles with physical and mental health benefits as well as helping to address loneliness and social isolation which particularly affects older people.
Income from bus users helps to maintain the viability of local businesses, supports local employment and the survival of local Dales communities.
It provides local people with access to public transport, work, essential services, friends and families on days when no other services operate.
A survey undertaken on behalf of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance in 2012 provides strong evidence of the economic, social and environmental benefits of DalesBus:
Economic: Complete withdrawal of Sunday buses would lead to a loss of spending in the local economy of £260k per annum, and make more difficult the promotion of 'green' tourism. The loss of business comes about because only about half of existing Sunday bus trips would be made by other means were Sunday bus services to be withdrawn; the rest would not be made at all or would go to alternative destinations.
Social: Of those currently using DalesBus more than 50% would find it difficult or impossible to travel to or in the Dales without these services. Only 3% reported that removal of Sunday bus services would have little or no impact on them. There is a heavy concentration of non-car owners amongst poorer people, teenagers and the elderly, all of whom are heavy users of existing services. Many of these people are elderly and isolated, and the buses enable them to participate in activities which bring them fresh air, exercise and contact with other people.
Environmental: By attracting car users to public transport, DalesBus reduces traffic in environmentally sensitive areas, relieving congestion, parking problems and emissions.
Research highlights importance of bus services to the local economy
Research has highlighted the
importance of bus services to the local economy and residents of the Dales.
Surveys were undertaken by Andrew Turnbull, a Geography with Transport Planning degree student at the University of Leeds, in conjunction with the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company in November 2015 on the Sunday 856 Wensleydale Flyer bus from Northallerton to Hawes via Bedale and Leyburn. This service was reprieved for the winter with new funding from Richmondshire District Council, Leyburn Town Council and Hawes & High Abbotside Parish Council but like several services across the Dales it will be withdrawn in April unless new funding sources are found.
Other bus services expected to be withdrawn in April include Monday to Saturday buses between Ilkley and Grassington via Bolton Abbey, and Saturday buses on routes X75 between Harrogate and Skipton and 155 between Bedale and Leyburn. Other routes will face reductions in frequency and some will be reliant upon volunteer minibus drivers following budget cuts by North Yorkshire County Council.
The survey discovered that 71% of passengers were local residents dispelling the myth that Sunday services are only for tourists, with 40% of these coming from single person households of which 55% do not own a car. Even in multi-person households which own a car, 58% of the bus passengers surveyed did not have access to this car; many of these are younger people who cannot rely on “mum’s taxi” for their entire life! 26% of respondents were aged under 24.
The average expenditure in local shops and businesses was £17.29 per passenger, far exceeding the subsidy of the bus journey which is around £2 per journey. 38% of journeys made were for employment, shopping, medical appointments and visiting friends and relatives. 93% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the continuation of this bus service is important with comments including “this excellent service fits in with my hours of work” and “it’s a lifeline”. This survey forms part of a wider research project that will be reported in March - the initial survey report can be downloaded here (PDF file).
Using the results of this survey it has been estimated that after removing the 23% of passengers who said that they would have travelled by car if the bus was not running, the passengers on this service would contribute over £46,000 to the local economy over the course of the year.
The plight of rural bus services was investigated by Tom Heap in the BBC 1 Countryfile television programme on January 10th with case studies across the Dales including the DalesBus services managed by the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company which faces a £45,000 shortfall in 2016-17. This shortfall is exacerbated by the low reimbursement levels from North Yorkshire County Council for carrying concessionary pass holders whilst some DalesBus services were deemed by the council in 2015 to be outside of the English National Concessionary Pass Scheme causing confusion for both bus drivers and passengers.
Winter DalesBus Services 2015-16
Details of the network of Winter Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services in the Yorkshire Dales managed by the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company are now available on the DalesBus website.
Thanks to continued support from Metro services will generally be similar to last winter. On Saturdays service X75 will operate between York, Harrogate and Skipton, and a new Saturday service is introduced between Skipton and Embsay. However no buses will operate on Sundays to Malham or Upper Nidderdale this winter.
Annual Report 2014/15
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company's annual report for 2014/15 is available to download here (PDF file).
Survey shows importance of Dales bus services
A survey of summer visitors by bus and car to the Dales carried out on behalf of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA) shows that:
Buses are important both for residents and visitors. Of the bus users who responded to the survey 37% were Dales residents, 43% were day trippers and 16% visitors staying overnight. Around a third of bus users could have travelled by car, which would have caused a substantial increase in carbon emissions.
Buses make a significant contribution to the local economy. More than half of bus users would not visit the Dales without the bus service, and Dales businesses would lose their spending of at least £2.8 million per year if the buses were to cease.
About 1 car user in 7 said they could use buses for their journey; a greater choice of tickets available on all buses and trains in the area was the most important suggestion to encourage greater use of public transport.
The survey was carried out by QA Research of York on behalf of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA) and supervised by the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company which organises Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services in the Dales.
Helen Flynn, Chair of DITA, said “The visitor survey results show that the bus network plays an important part in Dales life, indeed it is a lifeline for young people who are without independent means of transport and for people who do not own, or have had to give up ownership of a car. Our next steps are to find ways of coaxing visitors out of their cars from time to time, either once they have arrived in the Dales or when planning journeys to the Dales. This will help keep rural bus and rail networks vibrant and sustainable, and provide people with real transport choice.”
Chris Nash, Chair of the D&BCIC, noted “This survey shows that both residents and visitors to the Dales need good bus services 7 days per week. Without these services, many people would be unable to enjoy the splendour of the Dales, and the result would be a substantial loss to local businesses”.
New Office for D&BCIC
From 1st March 2012, our office facility provided by the Yorkshire Dales Society has relocated to Gargrave. You can now write to us at:
The Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company, Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, North Yorkshire BD23 3PN or call us on: (01756) 749400.
Please note that our office is only open limited hours, but an answerphone facility is available when the office is closed, and you can also email us.
Timetable Leaflets for Local Businesses
In conjunction with the Friends of DalesBus, the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company is able to supply timetable leaflets for its services to local businesses and organisations who are able to display them. For details please contact us.
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