Monday, 13 March 2017

Dales Bus Services for 2017 Announced: and Lancaster Gets Three!

Dales & Bowland CIC has announced details of the summer Sunday and Bank Holiday services for 2017 and the coming year sees a significant expansion of the service from Lancaster and the surrounding area. Additional sponsorship has been obtained from Northern Rail and the two new services offer connections with that company's trains at Bentham and Clitheroe.  The miserly - and possibly illegal - attitude of North Yorkshire and Lancashire County Councils unfortunately means that concessionary bus passes continue to be unavailable on these services but the Concessionary Dales Rover ticket at £7 for passholders  (£12 for adults) continues to allow an affordable day out in the Dales.

THE NORTHERN DALESMAN, which this year is numbered 830 throughout  the route, is diverted to take in Kirkby Lonsdale en-route to Ingleton, Hawes and Richmond and also continues through to Leyburn. This year it will be operated by Preston Bus and will therefore start at Preston, running non-stop via the M6 to Galgate then via Lancaster University (Underpass) calling at all stops along the A6 to Lancaster Bus Station. Although the Dalesman no longer serves Morecambe there will be a connection provided at Lancaster by the new Malham Tarn Shuttle (see below)

The Dalesman won't serve Keld on its outward run this year, but a timed connection will be made at Muker to allow walkers to reach the village.

First of the new services is the BOWLAND EXPLORER. To be known as service 833 and operated by Travellers Choice (although don't be surprised if a Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire bus turns up!)

It starts at Lancaster railway station at 0915 and calls at the bus station (where passengers from Morecambe have a connection (see below), before continuing along the Lune Valley to Hornby, then on to Bentham railway station, where it will connect with a train from Leeds and Skipton. 

From Bentham the Explorer continues to Ingleton and Clapham and  travels over Bowland Knotts, through Gisburn Forest and past Stocks Reservoir to Slaidburn before running over Newton Fells to Waddington and Clitheroe

 After meeting the train from Manchester at Clitheroe Interchange, the Explorer returns to Slaidburn and then travels over the Cross of Greet  Road and Lythe Fell to Bentham station for another train connection and another trip to Gisburn Forest. Return journeys from all points give a wide range of possibilities for walkers and the route is certain to prove attractive for those passengers "just along for the ride".  

Malham, when Pennine Motor Services ran the service.
The third Dales Bus service from Lancaster this year is the MALHAM TARN SHUTTLE, which as service 881 will be operated by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire. 

The service starts at Morecambe Bus Station at 0835, calling at Lancaster Bus Station at 0855 to provide a connection onto the Northern Dalesman and Bowland Explorer buses for Morecambe passengers. It then runs via Hornby, Wennington, Bentham, Ingleton, Clapham, Giggleswick, Settle, Langcliffe and Streets to Malham Tarn and Malham village. 

There are two return journeys during the day as far as Ingleton (for connections with other Dales Bus services) and a final return journey to Lancaster and Morecambe arriving at 1810.

All three Dales Bus services run on Sundays and Bank Holidays  from 7 May until 24 September 2017 inclusive. 


 Individual single and return fares are available for all journeys, although the best value is likely to be a Dales Rover ticket, bought from the driver, at £12 for adults and £7 for students (with NUS card) or holders of English National Concessionary Bus Passes.  One or two children (aged 16 or under) may travel FREE with each Dales Rover ticket holder.
A new Bowland Explorer ticket will be available from Lancaster as far as Kirkby Lonsdale, Ingleton, Skipton and Clitheroe, priced at £8 for adults and £15 family (any group of up to 2 adults and 3 children).

The Dales & Bowland CIC are to be congratulated for finding the means to continue and expand the Dales Bus service in what have become very challenging times for local bus services, particularly in rural areas. Thanks are due to Northern Rail for supporting the services this year alongside existing sponsors including Settle - Carlisle Railway Development Co. Ltd.   Dales Bus services bring many passengers to Northern's trains - and vice-versa - and the network is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by the public transport industry working together in a spirit of co-operation rather than the unwanted competition that our present legislative framework often forces it into.

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