Comment - moves to strengthen rural transport links will benefit town and village

Rural bus services have been a talking-point in Darlington in recent years

Rural bus services have been a talking-point in Darlington in recent years

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ONE of the most talked-about consequences of town halls being starved of Government cash – certainly in Darlington, anyway – has been the impact on public transport.

Roughly speaking the domino effect was as follows: need to make spending cuts results in withdrawal of bus subsidies results in loss of services.

It is a pattern repeated countless times elsewhere, not least in North Yorkshire.

Residents in Darlington’s satellite villages – Middleton St George, Hurworth, Neasham and Sadberge among others – faced the heartache of lost independence as a result of the bus services being reduced, or cut off altogether in some cases.

Last summer, a thrice-weekly community bus service was launched, re-connecting some of those villages with Darlington town centre, following a determined campaign by locals.

The service, dubbed Our Bus, has proved hugely popular and has hundreds of customers a month.

Steve Metcalfe, who is running the Tees Valley Transport Brokerage project, is confident that it can have a similar impact.

His letter to residents in Darlington has already had some impact – with volunteer drivers set to receive training.

It is to be hoped that more people will come forward to help strengthen the links between Darlington’s outlying villages and the town centre.

Strong transport links will benefit both the residents in the villages and businesses in the town – a win-win situation.

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