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Council threat to cut off Downton country

18 November 2013
North Yorkshire County Council are planning to cut bus services though Ryedale, the fictional setting for the TV series Downton Abbey, leaving some villages without a bus service at all.

The council has already made huge cuts to their bus budget and reduced many services, but the latest cuts, which are currently out for public consultation, will leave some places with no access to public transport at all.

Although Downton is a fictional village nine miles from Ripon, real life Yorkshire towns and cities including Thirsk, York, Kirkbymoorside and Malton, which feature regularly in the hugely successful show, will be affected by the council’s proposed cuts to reduce services by roughly half and remove some routes altogether.

Campaign for Better Transport has been following the proposals carefully. Martin Abrams, the charity’s public transport campaigner, said: “Buses are vital to communities and the local economy, even Lord Grantham would have recognised that. For elderly people, those on low incomes and young people, buses are often their only means of transport and cuts like this can leave them isolated and unable to access shops and services or visit friends and family. The council is currently seeking local views on the proposed changes so we would encourage people to take part in the consultation and let the council know just how valuable and important these services are.”

Tracy Battensby, from Easingwold, said: “I rely heavily on the bus to get to work every day, as do others. Buses are a vital artery for employees in local businesses, the elderly and those without cars, as well as visitors to the Hambleton and Ryedale areas. There is no viable alternative that covers the area between Easingwold, Ampleforth and Helmsley. Any major cuts would be shortsighted and self-defeating as they would effectively cut contact between two important market towns.”

John Dean, who lives in Beadlam and has joined a campaign to save his local bus route, said: “Buses are a lifeline for the people of Ryedale. The loss of these services will hit the rural and market town folk who currently rely on an already over-stretched bus network north of York the hardest. We recently lost the much loved Moorsbus service through the North York Moors and now we’re set to be even more isolated by these proposed cuts. Politicians need to realise how these financial cuts affect bus users and start making some positive moves to support rural buses.”

The public consultation is open until November 25 and people can take part by visiting www.northyorks.gov.uk/busconsultation

Notes to Editors

1. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).