Buses in rural North Yorkshire - can the Big Society cope?
North Yorkshire's Little Red Bus Company could be a role model for David Cameron's Big Society.
It started as a volunteer-operated dial-a-ride service with one minibus in 1987. It now has a £850,000 turnover, 56 staff and operates 25 vehicles providing a whole range of public transport services across the county.
The little red buses go where commercial services are few and far between.
A call centre at its HQ at Killinghall just North of Harrogate operates highly complex booking software to tailor the service to requests from local people who might otherwise find it hard to leave their homes.
In an era where council subsidies to commercial operators in rural areas are being squeezed, the Little Red Bus services are in increasing demand.
Now its Chief Executive Lynne Costello is a leading light in a movement aiming to combine the handful of community bus services that exist across the Dales and rural North Yorkshire.
But the proposals for the integrated transport plan are far more ambitious than that.
It wants community groups to take on the multi-million pound tax payers' budgets currently spent on taking children to school; patients to hospital; social services clients to day care, and even replace the courier services moving medical supplies between hospitals.
To succeed it has to persuade government, local authority and NHS Transport bureaucrats to hand over the cash.
I went on trip on one of the Little Red Buses this week as Lynne explained the plans.
Instead of a number of different organisations sending out half-full vehicles she argues that one bus could combine as many roles as possible.
That would free capacity which could then be redirected to give public transport to remote communities where a bus is hardly ever seen.
It is not solely up to the community groups. They have to put forward a joint initiative with the local transport authority - North Yorkshire County Council.
Agreement would allow detailed planning to go ahead as well as a bid for an estimated £5m set-up costs from the government's Department for Transport.
That is where there is currently a difference of opinion.
The County Council is accused of dragging its feet in order to keep control of its transport budgets.
In turn, the County Council issued a statement to me saying that very careful consideration has to be made if such a radical move is to succeed.
It could be several months before any agreement is possible.