THE organisation behind the successful DalesBus service has announced it is reviving its former name to campaign for better public transport across the board and stop people who rely on buses and trains being treated like second class citizens.

The Friends of DalesBus (FoDB) is bringing back the name it was first launched under in 1997 - The Yorkshire Dales Public Transport Users' Group - and aims to fight for more accessible and sustainable bus travel for everyone.

The group helped to establish the voluntary, not for profit Dales & Bowland CIC which operates 14 weekend DalesBus services.

They say the success of their own operation might have "masked" the decline in public transport from other operators - and are now staging a fightback.

A public meeting is being held on Saturday March 9 at the Narrow Boat Inn, Victoria Street, (off Coach Street) Skipton, at 2pm, to draw up an action plan. It will be addressed by local environmental campaigner and author, FoDB Vice Chair Colin Speakman. This will be followed by the FoDB AGM.

Colin Speakman, Vice Chairman of the Friends of DalesBus said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has many fine policies to support sustainable forms of travel – walking, cycling and public transport use, but when it comes to action to make this happen then it is a low priority.

"The Authority give only minimal token financial support for DalesBus. But the creation of the new York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority gives us once-in-a-lifetime chance to restore the disastrous austerity cuts to bus services in the Dales, to help reduce social isolation and revive the local rural economy."

Ilkley Gazette: A Saturday Dalesbus service at Bolton Abbey A Saturday Dalesbus service at Bolton Abbey (Image: Friends of DalesBus)

The group says there are no longer through bus services between Leeds and Skipton, with only "poorly coordinated connections and no through ticketing at Ilkley".

They add that loss of off-peak train services from Skipton and Ilkley into Bradford has vastly reduced journey opportunities for people without cars in both Wharfedale and Airedale, while through buses between Ilkley and Harrogate or Otley and Keighley have been withdrawn.

Paul Harrison, chairman of Friends of DalesBus, said: “It’s little wonder that people trying to live a green lifestyle by choosing not to own a car, or whether for financial or health reasons cannot drive, now feel themselves treated as second class citizens."

For this reason, he said, for 2024, the Friends of DalesBus are going to relaunch, and for campaigning purposes revive use of their old name the Yorkshire Dales Public Transport Users’ Group.

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