JUST as we are welcoming visitors from further afield, it brings up the unsavoury subject of Skipton Bus Station. I wrote in 2019 of how the station is unfit for purpose, and two years on, it is no better.

First of all, the station is as well lit as striking a single match in Wembley stadium. It must be very unnerving for anybody waiting alone for a bus at 10 or11pm at night in the dark, especially when it is unstaffed, often surrounded by youths shouting, drinking, and looking ominous.

Then there is the general appearance. To combat the vandalism of the automatic doors, what did Craven District Council do? Replace them?, improve the stand? No! Don't be daft - they just took all the doors off. So now you can really experience that lovely feeling of sitting in a broken greenhouse, soaking wet when the rain blows in, windswept with the drafts that bellow through, perched on a seat as comfortable as sitting on an upturned casserole dish and feeling cold and miserable.

Oh and as there are no doors anymore, you (or even worryingly, a child) can wander aimlessly out onto the station forecourt (and regularly do).

Clearly people who decide the fate of the bus station and services don't use them - if it were my job to look after them, I'd be ashamed at the inadequacies bus users face.

If you don't use the buses and don't have to endure waiting in what I can only describe as 'a shambles', then lucky you! Not everyone has the capacity to drive, or afford to.

Imagine welcoming a friend or visitor to Skipton and they step off the bus into that decrepit monstrosity. I'm ashamed to see visitors to my home town arriving in it. The anti vaccination and Covid hoax brigade are also regularly obscuring the timetables too with their stickers and posters. It looks like it was last cleaned when Blakey was 'On the Buses'.

Also, what are the council doing to keep certain routes going? The X84 that ran hourly to Leeds has been taken over by a new company and only runs as far as Ilkley - and one journey a day to Otley. The route obviously isn't lucrative as it once was, so the bus company made this decision - but this is where the council should be stepping up and subsidising routes to keep them going.

I used to get the X84 to work a few years ago, it would get me in Ilkley for 7.20am - now, the first bus doesn't even leave Skipton until 8.37am! With no train, you can't get to Ilkley until 9.01am by bus, so don't look for work in Ilkley if you don't drive! And now there is no direct bus to Leeds anymore - I don't fancy paying £12.10 return for a Skipton to Leeds train.

West Yorkshire residents don't often realise how lucky they are with the much cheaper fares and earlier and later services they have which METRO subsidise.

The powers that be around Skipton and North Yorkshire seem happy for routes to disappear (Skipton to Harrogate for example) or leave a bare minimum service. If you live in Skipton and want to commute to work by bus before 9am, the chances are, you'll struggle.

The local Skipton service is hardly a tourist temptation is it? I'm not sure many people travel far and wide to take a trip on the Horse Close circular in a tiny white minibus? Skipton was once a highly celebrated town, well there's little to celebrate for public bus services anyway. Maybe ask someone at the council to take you to work, - they probably have spare seats in their cars, as I doubt you'd catch them travelling on a bus.

Liam Shaw


A spokesperson for Craven District Council said: "The council does take public safety seriously and we are looking into the concerns over lighting with our electrical contractor. We will address the concerns over cleanliness with our cleaning providers.

The doors have been an ongoing issue. This has been risk assessed and unfortunately the problems that customers were experiencing with doors jamming meant that the doors were not suitable for an unmanned station. Sadly, the council does not have the resources to man the bus station.

North Yorkshire County Council are responsible for subsidising bus routes. Although district councillors can and do lobby on behalf of residents for certain services, ultimately it is down to NYCC and their available funds.

There are a number of long-term projects ongoing in Skipton which aim to address some of the wider problems around transport routes, public transport and pedestrian routes.

Many council staff live in Craven and do use public transport or walk to work in normal times when the offices are fully open. We understand the need for improvement and the council is a key partner in the Transforming Cities Fund project and the Skipton Station Triangle project, both of which aim to address these issues."

Note - DalesBus 59 runs on Saturdays throughout the summer between Skipton and Harrogate. For times, visit: www.dalesbus.org