New trial for hospital shuttle bus

A paid-for trial period for the shuttle bus will commence from July 18.
A paid-for trial period for the shuttle bus will commence from July 18.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is set to run a 12-week trial of the Bridlington to Scarborough Hospital shuttle bus.

The shuttle bus service, which travels between each hospital site seven days a week, was due to end on Sunday July 17, after the Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said it could no longer fund the service.

But the council has now offered to run a service for a trial period, after holding talks with Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Bridlington Town Council.

The new service will begin on Monday July 18 and will be a paid-for service. Passengers will be charged £5 for a return journey.

It is hoped the shuttle bus trial will be self-financing, depending on the amount of passengers, but the health trust, CCG and town council have pledged joint funding towards the cost of the service if there is a shortfall.

Towards the end of the 12-week trial, the council will meet again with the CCG, health trust and town council to review the performance of the bus service and decide on its future.

East Riding Council transport manager David Boden said: "We are pleased to have come to this arrangement that gives this service a fighting chance to surviving. All this service needs is a revenue guarantor. I would now urge the Bridlington public to make use of the service as this is only a short-term trial period."

There are no guarantees the service will continue after the 12-week trial.

A Bridlington Town Council spokesman said: “We are very pleased to be working positively with the York District Hospitals Trust, Scarborough & Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council who have all agreed to revenue guarantee a 12 week trial paid for hospital bus service to enable the service to be given the opportunity to investigate whether a paid service could be permanently retained.

"The Town Council are very disappointed that the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group have refused to allocate any funding to the trial service and resolved to contact that organisation to convey the Council’s disappointment considering the importance of this service to the Area. The Town Council would like to thank Mr David Boden from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Transport Services Department for his work with this important matter."

The shuttle bus was first launched in 2008 by the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Healthcare Trust after acute medical services were transferred from Bridlington Hospital to Scarborough Hospital.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is leading force in the Government’s Total Transport initiative.

The aim of the initiative is to get public sector bodies working together to share vehicles and journeys to ensure residents have greater access to transport for health services, shopping, education and employment.

Councillor Andy Burton, the council’s portfolio holder for planning, highways and transportation, said: “We’re delighted we are in a position to help residents and we hope this trial of the shuttle bus is a success.

“I would encourage people to use this shuttle bus as its continuation will depend on the number of passengers to make it viable. We will always try to work with residents and to meet their needs.”