Transport talks are ‘inflexible’

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ENVIRONMENTAlISTS have criticised a consultation on changes to public transport across the county, branding it “inflexible”.

Derbyshire County Council is using a paper and online questionnaire to find out people’s views on proposals to slash bus services and chop travel perks enjoyed by teenagers and pensioners.

The council said the consultation was “clear, unambiguous and balanced”.

But Lisa Hopkinson, of the environmental group Transition Chesterfield, claimed: “On the consultation form, there’s no room to allow people to say, ‘please don’t cut any bus services’.

“It’s a very leaning and very inflexible consultation.”

The consultation focuses on various options including:

• Axing 43 bus services with low passenger numbers;

• Reducing the fares subsidy for b_line cardholders;

• Scrapping train and community bus travel concessions for pensioners and disabled people with a Gold Card.

Mrs Hopkinson said: “Transition Chesterfield wants to reduce dependency on oil - one way is to encourage people to use alternative, more efficient transport modes to cars.

“For many people in Derbyshire, public transport, and buses, are the main - in some cases only - alternative to cars.”

Mrs Hopkinson added: “We hope the council will reconsider these cuts and instead put more effort into promoting bus services, encouraging more people to use public transport and reduce dependency on cars.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “The questionnaire was put together with help from our policy and legal team who are experienced in creating questionnaires. This was to ensure it was clear, unambiguous and balanced.”

So far the council has received 1,800 replies to the consultation which runs until January 31.

Residents can get a paper questionnaire by phoning Call Derbyshire on 084456 058 058.

Alternatively, log on to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/publictransportsurvey

What do you think of the plans to change public transport in Derbyshire? Send your thoughts to comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk