Derbyshire Conservatives accused of misleading public

Derbyshire Conservatives' 2017 manifesto, which stated that subsidised bus routes would be protected.
Derbyshire Conservatives' 2017 manifesto, which stated that subsidised bus routes would be protected.

A Liberal Democrat councillor has accused Derbyshire Conservatives of breaking a manifesto promise.

Ahead of last year's local elections, Derbyshire Conservatives stated in their manifesto that they would 'protect subsidised bus routes' if they took control of Derbyshire County Council (DCC) - which they did.

But earlier this month, cabinet members approved plans to stop subsidising 26 bus services to save £1million and it is understood 13 of these contracts will not be propped up by private companies and will be lost for good.

Councillor David Hancock, who represents the Liberal Democrats on North East Derbyshire District Council, said: "I am absolutely gobsmacked.

"Many vulnerable people backed the Conservatives in 2017 because of their commitment to keep subsidised bus routes, especially those that need the services to attend hospital appointments - now it looks like they are being told to get stuffed.

"What we are seeing here is Derbyshire Conservatives misleading the public at election time and then doing exactly the opposite upon running the authority," he added.

Coun Simon Spencer, the council's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, responded: "I refute the Liberal Democrats' claims - we are protecting subsidised bus routes.

"We've been very careful about which services we've looked at - they have to be viable, they have to be sustainable. The vast proportion of services relate to early morning, evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday journeys.

"Thirteen services are being picked up by commercial operators."

In a report considered by councillors, officers stated: "The budget now allocated provides a significant opportunity to remove any uncertainty over the future provision of local bus services.

"This will be achieved through transport solutions that are well-used and maintain good levels of accessibility for communities, whilst also being financially sustainable.

"Following many years of uncertainty, this will help give stability for both contracted and commercially-provided bus services and ensure the long-term future of services to benefit passengers, local bus operators and the county council."

DCC spends £3.8m propping up local bus services each year which is used to subsidise 17 per cent of the routes across Derbyshire - some 4.4 million journeys.

Funding for buses in Derbyshire has dropped by £3m since 2009.

The 13 routes which will be cut

15A/16A – Chesterfield to Crystal Peaks via Barlow, Apperknowle and Marsh Lane – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

55A – Chesterfield to Alfreton via Wingerworth – loss of evening bus service

63A – Matlock to Clay Cross via Kelstedge – loss of 5.50pm journey, bringing last departure from Matlock to 3.45pm

66/66A – Chesterfield to Buxton via Baslow and Tideswell – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

110 – Matlock to Ashbourne via Kniveton – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

140 – Matlock to Alfreton via Crich – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

173 – Castleton to Bakewell – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

212 – Bonsall to Derby via Crich – loss of 9.05am from Bonsalll and 1.45pm from Derby on alternate Thursdays

217 – Matlock to Chatsworth via Rowsley – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

442 – Ashbourne to Fairfield Estate via Hartington and Buxton – loss of Sunday and bank holiday Monday service

449 – Ilam to Bakwell – loss of 9.15am from Ilam and 1.35pm from Bakewell on alternate Mondays

Swift – Derby to Mayfield via Brailsford and Ashbourne – loss of 6.08am journey from Derby Monday to Saturday, first journey becomes 7.45am from Derby

Transpeak – Manchester to Derby via Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock – loss of last journey in both directions, last journey from Manchester becomes 4.10pm and from 5.50pm from Derby; the 7.50pm will go as far as Matlock

The 13 routes being retained but totally privatised

Rainbow One – Alfreton to Nottingham via Somercotes and Eastwood - Monday to Saturday

Rainbow One – Alfreton to Nottingham via Somercotes and Eastwood - Monday to Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday Mondays

1 – Bakewell to Derby Via Matlock - Monday to Friday between Bakewell and Matlock

3 – Derby to Ripley via Belper and Heage - between Heage and Ripley on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays

1 Belper to Derby via Holbrook - last journey in both directions

My 15 – Ilkeston to Sawley - Sundays and bank holiday Mondays

39 – Grangwood to Holme Hall via Chesterfield - alternate evening services Monday to Saturday, Sundays and bank holiday Mondays

61 – Glossop to Buxton via New Mills - Monday to Friday 1pm from Buxton and 2pm from Glossop, and Saturdays in Buxton from 1pm, 3pm and 5.20pm, and 2pm and 4pm from Glossop

61 – Glossop to Buxton via New Mills - Sundays and bank holiday Mondays

170 – Bakewell to Chesterfield via Chatsworth House - Sundays and bank holiday Mondays

199 – Buxton to Manchester Airport via Stockport - all Sunday and bank holiday Monday journeys between Buxton and New Mills/Newtown

Swift – Derby to Mayfield via Brailsford and Ashbourne - all journeys from 7.30pm from Derby and 6.22pm from Mayfield onwards, Monday to Wednesday

Transpeak – Manchester to Derby via Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock - all Sunday and bank holiday Monday journeys except 8.15pm journey from Buxton and 9.50 journey from Derby