LETTER: We've been generous but cuts have hit hard
I'd like to clarify several points and highlight what Derbyshire County Council is doing to keep buses on the road.
Following public consultation - where 92 per cent of people who took part stated they disagreed with our proposals to withdraw funding for subsidised bus services - we agreed to continue to put in more than £3million to keep some 144 services running.
We have also been extremely generous with our funding for the county’s six community transport schemes for more than 25 years and have already continued to provide grants for DAB services for 15 months longer than we originally thought we could afford.
We appreciate that to users DAB is a valuable service, however, passenger numbers are low. There are only 600 regular DAB users and the service is costly to run at £10 per journey compared to just over £1 for subsidised journeys carrying 4.2million passengers a year.
The county council is facing unprecedented Government cuts and we cannot continue funding at these high levels to provide services that carry relatively low numbers and legally we do not have to provide.
A new service called Derbyshire Connect is being piloted in the Ashbourne area early next year. It is designed for every type of passenger including people who currently use DAB services. And we plan to roll out Derbyshire Connect services to other parts of the county which will provide similar journey opportunities for current DAB users.
We are also continuing to fund aCTive Travel, another community transport service for people to get to medical appointments, until 2020.
Community transport schemes are charities which we’ve supported for many years and it will be up to them to decide which services they can continue to run in addition to any Derbyshire Connect services.
They can bid for funding from other organisations and can generate income from other sources and we’ll continue to support them to bid for external funding wherever we can.
Coun Dean Collins,
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure