Bid to change bus routes sparks outcry in the town

Proposed changes to bus routes in Belper sparked an outcry from residents at a town council meeting.

Trent Barton buses has applied to the Traffic Commissioners to vary the route of the 6.4 and 6.X buses so the routes will no longer use Crich Lane, Coronation Avenue, Cherry Tree Avenue and Appleton Drive in the town and will instead go straight along Far Laund to Ashford Rise, which the bus firm says are often difficult for buses to negotiate.

Town councillor Alan Cox invited Trent Barton to a meeting on September 11, attended by around 40 residents.

Cllr Cox said: “This is what happened around 2000 and the strength of feeling among residents and councillors was sufficient to make Trent Barton change their mind.

““If it was that much of a problem, why didn’t Trent Barton make this proposal 12 years ago? It not only affects the elderly but mothers with pushchairs.”

Commercial director Alex Hornby said the changes were being made because “of our wish to improve punctuality, and avoid certain roads which are often difficult to pass through on narrow carriageways with parked cars. Safety is our highest priority, and we know that our customers’ number one demand is that we run on time.”

The firm has already made an application to the Traffic Commissioner for a change in late October.

Cllr Cox said: “Trent Barton said there were problems with inconsiderate parking which was delaying some of their buses – but residents said there were very few delays of only a few minutes.

“It’s a very elderly population up there and taking the buses from that route would leave many of them facing a steep climb.Residents showed their strength of feeling against these proposals.”

The town council agreed to ask the county council if it would consider putting parking restrictions in place when the buses are running. Cllr Cox said removing the bus route from certain roads would also remove the county council’s obligations to grit those roads – causing more inconvenience.

He said: “People were concerned this was the thin end of the wedge. We’re wondering whether Trent Barton will say - ‘We’ll just run buses where it’s convenient to us’? They have to think about what their customers want. These are the people that pay the fares.”