Monday, 12 May 2014

Farewell to the Pennines

A Pennine bus at Clapham (no, not that one!) in 1981. That's my 2CV on the right spoiling the shot!
The Pennine bus company has operated bus services in and around Skipton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, since 1925. It survived the cut-throat competition of the 1920s when the emerging bus industry was the boom of its day and co-existed alongside much bigger and more powerful operators through the regulated era from the 1930s until 1986. It even survived, as many independent operators did not, the new de-regulated system introduced in that year and all of that in a thinly-populated and -  in later years -  high car-ownership area.
But it's finally giving up the ghost. The company blames competition on one of its key routes as well as what it regards as inadequate payments from North Yorkshire County Council for accepting Concessionary Bus Passes, this last being important when the vast majority of its passengers who aren't schoolchildren travel using these free passes. 
Here is an extract from the company's website:
Pennine Motors

It is with regret that as from close of business on the 16th May, 2014 Pennine Motors will no longer trade as a bus company.
This is due to the free travel payments from North Yorkshire Council being reduced by 20% and another bus company running too many buses on our main bus route between Skipton and Barnoldswick .
I am sure you will appreciate that this has been a very difficult decision for myself and my family as my Grandfather founded the business in 1925 together with his brother and brother in law, but unfortunately it is no longer financially viable.
I would like to thank all our loyal customers for their unwaivering support over the last 88 years.

So today I took the train to Preston and then a bus to Skipton, where I met up with Bob, who'd come from Sheffield and we spent a day traversing the company's routes to places like Embsay, Earby, Settle and Malham. Bob used one of the company's Day Tickets whilst I contributed to its downfall with my bus pass (and saved myself £12)! It will be hard to imagine Skipton without Pennine buses - think of it in terms of the cut without Fellows, Morton & Clayton. Spare a thought also for the inhabitants of the towns and villages Pennine served. In the absence of any bus companies coming forward to run a replacement service North Yorkshire County Council, rather than seeking tenders for a subsidised operation, has decided to employ its own 16-seater minibuses on a greatly-reduced service that will run bewteen school times on Mondays to Fridays only. (Pennine ran all day, six days a week).
It would have been interesting to have been there for Pennine's last day on Friday and even more interesting to see the chaos that will emerge on Monday when the Council's minibuses will be unable to cope with the loads, but I have alternative plans, which you'll hear about in due course.

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