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Little Red Bus chief executive calls for more co-operation from council
The boss of Craven’s Little Red Bus has called for more co-operation from North Yorkshire County Council.
The community transport’s chief executive Lyn Costelloe was speaking after the council decided, apparently without consultation, to take over the booking arrangements for the on-demand buses.
The Little Red Bus (LRB) runs the South Craven Village Bus which serves Lothersdale, Cononley, Low Bradley, Kildwick, Farnhill and Sutton-in-Craven and the North Craven Taxi Bus which operates in the Settle, Ingleton and Bentham areas.
Mrs Costelloe said the county council determined the level of service and she was frustrated to read complaints from passengers about infrequent and overcrowded buses.
“We are at the mercy of the county council, which contracts out the service, and we are doing the best we can. I would urge people to work together to maintain the service; otherwise communities could be left isolated.
“Community transport is a major problem which is only going to get worse. There needs to be a debate.”
She claimed the sustainability of the service had been further threatened by the county council taking over the bookings from this week.
“Instead of ringing us direct, the passengers have to ring a call centre. It then rings us and schedules the service. It is a nonsense and it is taking away our livelihood. This is not in the interests of anyone.”
But a county council spokesman said: “We are making these changes to improve our customer service and to provide consistency. Sometimes our contracts change but, by introducing one telephone number, it now means the number will not change even if the operator does.
“In most cases passenger journeys will continue to be provided by Little Red Bus.
“These new arrangements are being provided through NYCC’s existing resources and because they will reduce the administrative workload for LRB they should allow the company to reduce costs and therefore be more sustainable.”
* The telephone number has changed to 08458 725282 and, to use the service, people must first register with North Yorkshire County Council and pre-book their journey no later than noon on the day before they wish to travel.
They can also book up to a week in advance.