The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is expected to agree a statement on public transport at its next meeting, which will call for a ‘significant increase’ in bus service coverage and frequency as well as improved coordination between bus and rail operators.
The draft statement, published here (agenda item 8), also calls for increased use of rail travel, more evenly spaced services and increased capacity for cycles on trains.
It is estimated that the Yorkshire Dales National Park has around 5 million visitors per year, with the latest visitor survey reporting that 82% of respondents travelled by private car, with only 4% by public bus or coach and 2% by train.
The National Park Authority hopes to influence Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) in making the National Park more accessible to people without a car and in encouraging car owners to choose public transport to visit the Dales.
At a meeting in September last year, the Authority adopted the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Route Map to Carbon Negative’, which included an ambition to reduce private car usage by 48% by 2030 and increase the use of buses and trains.
The Authority’s Member Champion for the Natural Environment, Mark Corner, said: “Public transport is not an area for which the National Park Authority is responsible. However, it’s increasingly clear that for reasons of climate mitigation and accessibility, we need those bodies who are responsible to bring about a situation where people use cars less and public transport more.”
“We want visitors to be able access the countryside for the benefit of their mental and physical wellbeing, and we want them to be able to do that easily and sustainably. In addition we need to support people who live and work here to help reduce their own carbon footprint by having the access to better public transport. It is well understood that some local people often have to travel long distances to access services and facilities.
“We are looking to set out our position on public transport in anticipation of working closely in partnership with local bodies that have responsibility for public transport – the new North Yorkshire and Westmorland & Furness councils and Lancaster City Council – to bring about a change in how people travel to the National Park and move around within it.”