The Upper Wharfedale Community Bus working group was formed in July 2015, in response to proposals by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to reduce the subsidy for bus services across the county from April 2016, as a consequence of government cuts. This proposal, which was approved by NYCC councillors on December 8th 2016, led to the discontinuation of the Pride of the Dales 72 service north of Grassington.
The working group, working with the support of Buckden and Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish Councils, established the following objectives for a transport systems for the Upper Dale:
Reduce social exclusion & isolation – especially the elderly & young people
Improve the independence & quality of life of residents
Support a sustainable local economy
increasing opportunities for tourism & business
enabling access to and from employment
Reduce carbon footprint
In September 2015, the group submitted a bid to provide a scheduled community local bus service between Buckden and Grassington, which would meet these objectives. In December 2015, the group were advised that the bid had been successful. The contrcat with NYCC has been renewed several times, most recently in April 2022.
In December 2015, the group formed a new community interest company limited by guarantee to run the service: Upper Wharfedale Bus CIC. The volunteer directors of the company were members of the original working group. The bus is based in Buckden at the northern end of the route, and there is a mix of volunteer and paid staff.
The Upper Wharfedale Venturer runs four times per day in each direction on school days (when it is supplemented by an NYCC provided service) and five times per day on Saturdays and during school holidays. Buses are timed to connect with Keighley Bus Company services to Skipton and beyond. From end of October 2018 the route was extended to Hebden on some services.