A CHERISHED bus service across one of the most spectacular landscapes in the country is about to return – thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
Over more than 30 years the Moorsbus service won thousands of fans, bringing the North York Moors within reach of those without access to cars.
But last year the service was finally axed when it fell victim to cost-cutting by the National Park as it struggled with major funding reductions.
With the removal of financial support from North Yorkshire County Council and the park authority, there were virtually no Sunday bus services for a huge area of the Moors.
However a group of volunteers promptly set up the Friends of Moorbus, which is now seeking charitable status, and the service will be taking to the road again this year - albeit on a much smaller scale.
A service from Darlington will start in mid-July and it is hoped other services will follow shortly from Redcar and Saltburn as well as Northallerton and Thirsk.
Helen Gundry of the Friends said: “Many people from Teesside to the Humber, and from towns and villages in and around the North York Moors were hugely disappointed that this part of their national heritage would no longer be accessible for those without a private car.
“And at the same time, others were concerned that businesses and the environment would also suffer as a result of no Sunday bus services.”
The Friends contacted previous users of the service and other organisations and have so far raised more than £2,000 with a further £3,000 coming from a bequest.
“This means that by working with existing bus operators, we’ve safeguarded access to part of the National Park – and if we can obtain further financial support we may be able to extend the operation.”
The Friends are also hoping that parish and town councils along the routes as well as businesses will make small donations to improve the service.
Details of the appeal are on the website kms-environmentgroup.org as well as the Friends’ Facebook page.
When timetables are complete they will be publicised through information centres as well as the websites.