Charity Friends of the Dales has recently welcomed the 500,000th passenger onto the weekend DalesBus services provided by its wholly owned subsidiary Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (D&BCIC).
D&BCIC was established back in 2007 to help keep buses running between Ilkley and Skipton on Sundays and Bank Holidays, following withdrawal of the service contracted by North Yorkshire County Council. D&BCIC has managed that service ever since, and has expanded to manage most bus services in the Yorkshire Dales area on Sundays and Bank Holidays with a network of around a dozen routes during the summer months, with some routes continuing all year round. Two services are now provided on Saturdays as well, including popular double-decker DalesBus 59 linking Skipton, Bolton Bridge, Blubberhouses and Harrogate. This year has seen the launch of an improved Sunday bus service into the Washburn Valley supported by Yorkshire Water, as well as the introduction of an extra double-decker journey between Leeds and Grassington, continuing to Upper Wharfedale and Hawes.
An increased service for Winter 2023-24 has just been announced, with the continuation of Saturday DalesBus service 74 between York, Harrogate, Ilkley and Grassington, and Sunday Cravenlink service 864 between Bradford, Ilkley, Skipton and Malham through the winter months on a trial basis.
Passenger numbers are growing too, with over 40,000 journeys made in the last year, and are now higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. Many people are taking advantage of the current £2 cap on single bus fares which continues until the end of October. Elderly and disabled bus passes are valid on most DalesBus services too.
The company is entirely run by volunteers and operates on a not-for-profit basis with all income used to provide and publicise local bus services.
Bruce Macleod, Chair of Friends of the Dales, said “We’re delighted to have been able to help so many people to travel more sustainably into and around the Yorkshire Dales area over the last 16 years and the 500,000 passenger is testament to that. We are however very dependent on one-off short-term grants and donations, so are calling on North Yorkshire Council to recognise the importance of Sunday bus services to the physical and mental health of the residents of North Yorkshire, especially young people for whom buses are often the sole means of rural transport, and to therefore include financial support for a good daily bus service across the area in its new Local Transport Plan.”
“We would also like to thank the many businesses, organisations and individuals who have helped to support D&BCIC’s DalesBus services over the last sixteen years. We’re now urgently looking for funding to help maintain and develop our services next year so please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be interested in helping by sponsoring a service. Without additional funding these popular services are under threat.“
Local transport campaigner and Vice President of Friends of the Dales, Colin Speakman, said “At a time of environmental crisis, DalesBus has never been so important by offering an attractive alternative to congestion and pollution in the National Park. Equally important DalesBus offers local residents and visitors equality of opportunity to access the countryside. It is now high time for both the new North Yorkshire Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to put their money where their mouths are, to ensure DalesBus is put on a sustainable basis, by prioritising support for what is a huge success story in the Yorkshire Dales”.
Full details of the DalesBus network are available online at www.dalesbus.org, with timetable booklets available from many local outlets.
Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company's Annual Report for 2022-23 is available to download here (PDF file).
In the meantime, we’d like to thank everyone who helped support the DalesBus network in 2022-23.
We have ambitious plans to further develop the DalesBus network into and around the Yorkshire Dales. To help us achieve our aims of improving sustainable access into and around the area we are now looking for more volunteers with Marketing, Fundraising or Community Liaison knowledge, skills and expertise.
Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (D&BCIC) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit social enterprise which manages the “DalesBus” network of weekend public bus services into and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale/ Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is wholly owned by Friends of the Dales, a registered charity, which aims to keep the Dales special and vibrant for years to come.
DalesBus serves a wide range of catchment communities across the North of England, including the urban areas of West Yorkshire, East Lancashire, and Teesside. The network has expanded over the years and now supports fifteen summer weekend services linking all the surrounding urban areas to the Dales, with services to Malham, Upper Wharfedale, Wensleydale, Swaledale and Nidderdale. These include services scheduled to connect with other bus and train services, in particular on the Leeds - Settle - Carlisle line. In winter months five Sunday services continue, serving Nidderdale, Upper Wharfedale and Wensleydale.
DalesBus also provides a much-valued service for local communities within the Dales who otherwise would have no transport on Saturdays, Sundays, and Bank Holidays, thereby further isolating those without access to their own transport. Over 40,000 passenger journeys were made on services managed by D&BCIC in 2022-23.
D&BCIC is managed by a voluntary Board of Directors who deal not only with strategy, but also the day-to-day activities of managing of the DalesBus network, including contracting commercial operators to provide the bus services. They are assisted by a wider team of volunteers who help with tasks such as social media posting, the distribution of publicity materials and updating of bus stop displays.
Skills or experience required
D&BCIC uses a range of channels to promote DalesBus, including printed materials, social media and media releases – as well as our website www.dalesbus.org. Volunteers with some marketing knowledge, skills and expertise are sought to help drive further passenger growth on the DalesBus network over the next few years. We would also welcome people with graphic design skills to help produce publicity materials.
Each year we need to raise over £150,000 to maintain the DalesBus network. Over the last few years there has been a significant drop in funding support from the public sector and D&BCIC has had to devote more time and effort to seek funding from commercial sponsors, charitable trusts, local charities, local businesses and individual donations as well as organising fundraising events. This has enabled most of the network to be maintained but much of the resulting funding is only short-term and on a one-off basis, so does not provide security for the future. Volunteers with some fundraising knowledge, skills and expertise are therefore sought to help raise more funding and secure the future of the DalesBus network.
D&BCIC strives to benefit the whole community. We would really appreciate support from volunteers who can help us to build a positive relationship with any of the diverse range of communities within and surrounding the Dales who could benefit more from DalesBus. We particularly welcome volunteers who may identify as Black, Asian, or from another marginalised group. Knowledge in how to develop and implement community outreach initiatives is desirable but not essential.
Volunteers are encouraged to let us know if they would like to discuss joining the board as directors to assist with the overall management of the company’s activities.
To find out more or register your interest please get in touch with us.
North Yorkshire County Council, along with other Transport Authorities in England are required to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan following the Government’s publication of its National Bus Strategy. North Yorkshire have gone out to consultation and we have contributed to a joint response with other local organisations.
The response is a joint report produced by Action for Yorkshire Transport and CPRE North Yorkshire with support from Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company, Friends of DalesBus, Friends of Moorsbus, Friends of the Dales, Moorsbus Community Interest Company and North Yorkshire Moors Association.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here (PDF file).
Action for Yorkshire Transport, Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company, Friends of DalesBus and Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line have recently undertaken a study on the potential for improved integrated transport in the Craven area on behalf of Craven District Council.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here (PDF file).
The future of Wensleydale Flyer bus service 856 has been secured for the next six months, thanks to local donations and contributions from the Locality Fund by six local North Yorkshire county councillors.
The service runs every Sunday between Northallerton, Bedale, Leyburn and Hawes, and has been supported for the last year by TransPennine Express.
Following an appeal by local bus users to North Yorkshire County Council's Richmondshire Area Constituency Committee Northallerton councillor Caroline Dickinson said she and five other members who lived along the bus route had noted how valued the service was and had agreed DalesBus should be given time to find a funding solution.
The councillors (David Blades (Romanby and Broomfield); Caroline Dickinson (Northallerton); Yvonne Peacock (Upper Dales);
Karin Sedgewick (Middle Dales); John Weighell OBE (Bedale) and Annabel Wilkinson (Swale)) will provide £500 from each of their Locality Budgets in the hope that further funding for the service can be found to enable the service to continue beyond Easter.
D&BCIC are seeking a new sponsor for the service from April 2021 onwards, and would like to hear from any businesses who might be interested in helping to support this valuable community service. We can be contacted by email here.
Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company has recently published it's Business Plan for 2021-2023.
The overall aim of the company is to help create the Friends of the Dales’ vision of a “Sustainable Future for the Dales” by working with partner organisations to support and develop sustainable transport into and around the Yorkshire Dales area.
Specifically, in the next three years we aim to:
Many summer seasonal DalesBus services into and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty usually start at Easter weekend.
We are sorry to advise however that this year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have reluctantly decided to delay the introduction of these services until further notice. We will aim to introduce them as soon as possible following the easing of government guidance on social distancing and non-essential travel, whenever that happens.
In the meantime we will endeavour to continue operating our all-year Sunday DalesBus services on the winter timetable for as long as appropriate. We are aware however that reduced bus timetables are likely to be introduced in the West Yorkshire area from next Monday, so the situation may change rapidly."
The latest updates on bus and train services in the Yorkshire Dales area will continue to be available on www.dalesbus.org and on Twitter @dalesbus
Communities across North Yorkshire are benefiting from better Sunday connectivity thanks to TransPennine Express (TPE), as the rail company has donated £12,500 through their Community Rail Partnership Growth Fund to help support a bus service between Northallerton and Hawes that connects into a bus service between Hawes and Garsdale for the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle Railway.
The 856 Wensleydale Flyer between Northallerton and Hawes operates every Sunday and Bank Holiday throughout the year, providing communities such as Bedale, Leyburn and Aysgarth with a direct Sunday service to their county town. The service is also beneficial to the local economy as it helps transport visitors to the Yorkshire Dales National Park to tourist attractions such as the Wensleydale Railway, Aysgarth Falls, the Dales Countryside Museum and Wensleydale Creamery.
The service is managed by volunteers from Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company, part of the Friends of the Dales charity. Their Commercial Director, Paul Chattwood, commented: “We’re very pleased and grateful for TransPennine Express’ support for this valuable service through their Community Rail Partnership Growth Fund. TransPennine Express’ support will enable the service to keep running every Sunday throughout the winter and next summer too, following on from the funding kindly provided by Acorn Stairlifts in recent years.”
Graham Meiklejohn, Regional Development Manager for TransPennine Express, said: “We are delighted to help support this key bus connection that links many communities throughout North Yorkshire, as well as our East Coast Main Line train services with those on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Not only does this bus service help connect communities and tourists to the rail network at Northallerton, but it also boosts the local economy and helps connect some of the most beautiful parts of the country too.”
For more information on Wensleydale Flyer, visit: www.dalesbus.org/wensleydaleflyer.