More than a dozen Derbyshire bus routes are to have journeys cut back after the county council said it could no longer afford to subsidise them.
The authority has put forward plans to end its support for 26 services across Derbyshire. Of these, 13, it is thought, would be continued by private companies but 13 would have their services reduced due to not being “commercially viable”.
The county council spends £3.8 million 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.
This funding has dropped by almost half (£2.99 million) since 2009 and there are now plans to cut another £1 million for 2018 to 2019.
The majority of the bus services not being picked up by a private company relate to early morning, evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday journeys.
Among these routes is Chesterfield to Alfreton, via Wingerworth, which will have its evening service dropped; the Transpeak from Manchester to Derby, via Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock, which will lose the final scheduled daily journey in each direction; and the 442 from Ashbourne to the Fairfield Estate, via Hartington and Buxton – which will lose its Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday service.
The annual cost to subsidise each of these routes is £76,946; £46,802; and £30,106 respectively.
All the routes earmarked to be dropped and not supported by private companies have been chosen due to having “very poor value for money” ranging from the majority which cost around £4 to £5 subsidy for each passenger journey, up to £12.71 for the 449 from Ilam to Bakewell.
The proposed cuts will be discussed at a meeting of the Conservative controlling cabinet on Thursday, April 5.
In a report, council officers said of the 13 most highly-subsidised routes that face the axe: “Given their operating costs and low levels of passenger use, it is not anticipated that any of the current services would be directly replaced with commercial journeys, so the proposals would therefore most likely result in the loss of all of the journeys currently provided.
“County council funding for local bus services helps to support local businesses and provide employment opportunities for Derbyshire residents.
“The provision of contracted local bus services are important to maintaining access to many essential services, including employment, education, health, leisure and shopping, as well as supporting the local economy.
“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.”
The council is also seeking to merge home-to-school transport services with local bus service contracts. This is already the case for 25 routes and will be reviewed area by area.
The £1 million in cuts has been split into £435,327 per year from the 26 contracts being withdrawn and £565,000 per year from reducing subsidies on 91 other local bus services.
The 13 routes being cut would be:
- 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 1.45 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 5.50 from Derby; the 7.50pm will go as far as Matlock
The 13 routes being retained but totally privatised would be:
- 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
By Eddie Bisknell – Local Democracy Reporter