Derbyshire community transport groups fear new Government funding will not be enough

MP Patrick McLoughlin.
MP Patrick McLoughlin.
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Under-threat community transport groups across Derbyshire fear new Government funding will not secure their future.

Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin has announced that £25million is being made available to provide hundreds of new minibuses to community transport operators in rural and isolated areas.

Community transport groups in action.

Community transport groups in action.

Mr McLoughlin said the funding would help the organisations continue to help vulnerable people – but operators say they need more money.

Derbyshire County Council is currently consulting on plans to completely withdraw funding for community transport groups – including Dial-a-Bus.

About 1,300 people with mobility problems rely on the doorstop service every month to go shopping and visit friends.

Councillor Dean Collins, the council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: “What Derbyshire’s community transport schemes need now is funding to pay to run their services – money to pay drivers, for fuel and repairs to their existing vehicles.

“And it’s that money that is under threat because of the council’s need to save £157million over the next few years because the Government is cutting our funding.

“Many of the community transport schemes in Derbyshire are actually getting rid of vehicles because of the threat to their funding.”

Patrick Dawson, chief executive of Community Transport for Town and County, which covers areas across Derbyshire, welcomed the Government funding and said he would be submitting an application.

He added: “However, Cllr Collins has quite rightly pointed out the implications of running costs.

“Basic maintenance and insurance can cost £5,000 a year and that’s before you’ve even purchased any diesel”.