LETTER: think outside box to save bus services
I would like to make a few comments regarding your article on bus cuts proposed by Derbyshire County Council in the April 5 edition of the Derbyshire Times.
First of all you use phrases such as ‘may’ have journeys cut back or routes which ‘could’ be cut or privatised. The reality is that these changes have already been registered by the relevant operators with the traffic commissioners for several weeks and so will be implemented from the end of May. However I understand that they were not finally approved by the council cabinet until recently. Does this not seem to be putting the cart before the horse?
As a passenger who uses the 55a service, it has to be said that this service has not been ‘value for money’ for a considerable time. With a bit of innovative planning the timetable could be adjusted so that the current subsidy of £76,946 quoted could be at least halved yet maintain a basic evening service. Currently three buses are used on the evening service and two of these spend 19 minutes in every 60 minute cycle doing nothing. Hardly ‘value for money’.
My suggestion (which was put to the council in the consultation) was to have one bus operating every two hours but diverted to serve Tibshelf (as it’s the last journey from Chesterfield). This would provide Tibshelf with an evening and Sunday link to Chesterfield and would absorb much of those 19 minutes.
There is currently an online petition to try to save this service (which I have signed) and therefore could I encourage any of your readers who might be affected by these changes to do the same.
It is also interesting to note that whilst well populated areas such as Wingerworth, Pilsley and Stonebroom are being proposed to lose their evening service, less populated areas such as Holymoorside seem set to retain theirs. But remember the fuss caused a few months ago when the daytime frequency of their service was cut from 30 to 45 minutes? It would seem that it is something of a postcode lottery as to whether an area gets a bus service or not (or is it down to those who shout the loudest?).
It would appear that with less money to spend, the transport planners at the county council lack a bit of flair and imagination. Their only solution seems to be to cut services to save money. They need to think outside the box and see where bus services could be merged, re-routed, re-timed or integrated with school services or those services such as the transport of individuals to day centres etc.
Let us hope that common sense prevails in this matter.
Little Morton Road,
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