Part of last Saturday’s journey to Burnsall had me using service 74 from Ilkley to Grassington. It is a subsidised service operated Monday to Saturday by Pride of the Dales on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. The route travelled ensures that only small single decker buses are used with Optare Solos being the mainstay these days. An arch over the route at Bolton Abbey precludes the use of double deckers while the narrow road from Barden Bridge to Burnsall by Appletreewick (pronounced as “app-trick” by the locals) is challenging enough for a Solo driver let alone that of a larger vehicle.
The use of smaller vehicles would lead you to think that not many use the service and I was surprised to see the extent of the patronage of the 11:35 from Ilkley last Saturday. In the event, I was lucky enough to get on first and find a seat right at the back so that my rucksack didn’t get in the way of anyone and allowed others to sit around me because I knew that we’d struggle with the numbers. In the end, there was standing room only (with any of these looking unsteady on the legs being offered a seat) and I was inclined to wonder if my getting off at Burnsall would involve displacing standees from the vehicle only for them to have to re-embark afterwards. However, enough left us at Bolton Abbey to ease that possibility although there was a dog owner sat in the middle of the floor later on. Neither was I the only one to leave at Burnsall either so that made things easier and no more disturbance was caused than was needed.