There has been understandable public concern over Derbyshire County Council (DCC) proposals to change council-subsidised bus services and community transport from October 2017.
Most bus services in Derbyshire are run commercially without any financial support from the county council but some bus services are subsidised by DCC where there are gaps in service.
However, due to Government-enforced cuts, Derbyshire County Council asked for the views of its residents on four proposals:
1. From October 2017 to cut all DCC-subsidised buses;
2. From October 2017 to cut all funding for Community Transport Dial-a -Bus (DAB) ‘Shopping’ buses;
3. From October 2017 to provide a new, limited, Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service instead of subsidised and DAB shopping buses
4. From October 2017 to provide a new, limited Door-to-Door Plus Service for people who currently use DAB shopping buses and who would be unable to use the proposed DRT service.
The consultation on these proposals was open to all Derbyshire residents and closed on Sunday, April 24.
The proposals are a direct response to the severe financial pressures faced by the county council as a result of nationally–enforced Government cuts in Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and other Government grants.
Many people will be affected by these cuts – currently around four million journeys a year are made on the ‘supported’ bus network.
For example, £5.73 million is currently spent on supported bus services, but this is forecast to fall to £2.46 million in 2017 /18 and be cut altogether in 2018 /19.
Spending on the DRT proposals are to reach £0.67 million in 2017/18 and £1.34 million in 2018/19.
These cuts in bus services and community transport will have a very negative impact on peoples’ lives as well as on the economy of nearby towns and villages.
• Social isolation of people without access to motorised transport, confined to their homes and local neighbourhoods.
• Loss of trade for businesses and services in nearby towns and villages.
• For those with access to cars, more cars will be on the road (leading to more congestion, more fuel imports, more pollution, more pressure on parking facilities).
In view of the leading role the national Government has taken in bringing this situation about, it is suggested local residents also raise this matter with local Members of Parliament. Patrick McLoughlin is MP for Derbyshire Dales and also Secretary of State for Transport and his contact details are:
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA; Telephone: 020 7219 3511
Ripley West division