Official urges paid-for shuttle bus

Bridlington Hospital's free shuttle bus service is in peril
Bridlington Hospital's free shuttle bus service is in peril

An East Riding Council transport manager has encouraged the funders of the ceasing hospital shuttle bus to trial a paid-for service.

The shuttle bus has been financed by the Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust but the former withdrew its funding due to a lack of Scarborough and Ryedale residents using the service and, as a consequence, the bus will stop on July 17.

At June’s Bridlington Town Council meeting, East Riding Council transport manager David Boden questioned the decision to not have a public consultation to see how the service could be saved.

He said: “It is saddening that at no point has either the group or York Trust made any attempt whatsoever to discuss the challenges that they have with this particular service.

“Residents are willing to pay but with the short-sighted decision without any consultation to end the service, that stops any exploration of options of how to move forward.”

The commissioning group has contributed to the provision of a shuttle bus service between Bridlington and Scarborough since April 2013 when it took over commissioning responsibilities from its predecessor, North Yorkshire Primary Care Trust.

Simon Cox, chief officer from Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group, said the re-introduction of the acute services back into Bridlington Hospital is “almost certainly not an option now or at any point in the foreseeable future”.

“When we reviewed financial plans, we found the service is being used at 25 per cent,” he said. “We found 90 per cent of those passengers were travelling from Bridlington to Scarborough Hospital.

“Without our support, York Foundation Trust decided they were unable to continue with the service. We did give notice to them in September. Any issues with consultation need to be directed to York Foundation Trust as they cancelled the contract with Dial a Ride, and not us.”

Mr Boden claims under the 2009 Travel Concessions Amendment Act, it is legal to have a registered service where people pay but pass holding is not possible.

“I would urge both parties engage with us as a council positively to explore the potential of a paid for option,” he said.

“The honourable thing to do is delay the implementation of their decision by three months to allow a trial of a paid for service to see if it could cover its costs.

“If it doesn’t, we can say we tried. The people of Bridlington at the moment feel the service has been walked away from with no exploration of options is not sustainable.”

Mr Cox expressed he would be willing to speak with the East Riding Council and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who failed to reply to an invitation to attend the Bridlington Town Council meeting on June 15.