New housing and commercial developments in Ripon could fund a better local bus service.
Ripon City Council’s transport group has been trying for several years to create a more integrated bus timetable for all parts of the city.
The current RS1 Ripon city service provided by North Yorkshire County Council operates to restricted hours during the week and doesn’t run at all on weekends.
But it is hoped that section 106 funds, which developers have to pay to fund infrastructure projects, could be used to improve matters.
Councillor Peter Horton, who chairs the transport group, told the Stray Ferret:
“We are well served by Transdev’s regular 36 double decker buses that provide journeys to and from Harrogate and onward to Leeds but our inner-city service is patchy.
“When commercial operators were no longer able to provide an internal Ripon service, we were grateful that North Yorkshire County Council stepped in to help but their mini-bus covers only around half of the city and we are looking for a more joined-up service.”
Some money to improve the service has been allocated from the parish precept.
Section 106 planning money from the retail development at Rotary Way, where a Marks & Spencer opened last year, is another possible source.
Longer-term, there are plans to build 1,300 homes at the Clotherholme development on the site of the former army barracks, which is another possible source of section 106 income.
Councillor Horton said:
“We will liaise with North Yorkshire County Council as the integrated passenger transport authority to discuss how the sources of funding can be drawn together.
“As a growing city, it makes sense to have a robust and regular bus service that reduces the need for cars to come into the centre, where parking is at a premium, while also providing a means for non-drivers to come into town.
“There are environmental benefits as well, as fewer car journeys into Ripon city centre will reduce the emissions that cause global warming.”