MAJOR changes to bus services in the High Peak have been slammed as being “unfair”.
High Peak Buses, who took over many services in the area in April, are planning changes to a number of routes in the borough with some towns and villages seeing almost half of their services being lost.
Due to come into force on September 3, the changes have not yet been finalised, but the services which look set to be affected are:
l 62 - Chapel-en-le-Frith - Hayfield - New Mills - Marple: greatly reduced service
l 62A - Hayfield - Thornsett - New Mills - Marple: most journeys withdrawn
l 76 - Buxton Town service: reduced Monday to Friday timetable
l 189 - Buxton - Peak Dale - Chapel - Chinley - Whaley Bridge: greatly reduced timetable and revised route
l 190 - Buxton - Peak Forest - Chapel - Chinley - Whaley Bridge: some journeys withdrawn
l 389 - New Mills Town Services: new route and reduced timetable.
David Shelley, Commercial Director with Centrebus, operators of High Peak buses, said: “Some changes to local bus services are anticipated, although the full details of these are still to be finalised with Derbyshire County Council.
“A review has been necessary as we have seen a significant change in the costs of providing these services over the past year or so, not least because of significant increases in the cost of fuel, a reduction in the fuel duty rebate we receive from Government, and increases in the statutory costs of employment and training.
“At present, we do not envisage a change to service 60, which is funded by Derbyshire County Council, and anticipate that route 62 will be rerouted in New Mills, with only minor changes to the timetable.
“Service 389 is still being reviewed, and a revised timetable will apply on route 76. On route 189/190, the unfunded parts of the service (those not currently funded by the county council) are being withdrawn.
“Further information will be made available as any late changes are agreed with Derbyshire.”
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “Routes that are subsidised by us will remain unchanged.
“We’re discussing the proposed changes to commercial routes with the bus company so we can see what impact these might have on the local area and work with them to resolve any potential issues.”
Resident John Benson, of Chinley, said: “Our main local service 189/190 that runs between Buxton and Whaley Bridge, calling at Chapel and Chinley, is being cut almost in half. At the moment, Monday to Friday, we get 41 journeys calling at Chinley. From September 3, we are going to get 21 journeys.
“Over 2,000 people live in Chinley and a lot of them use the buses.
“If you want to go to the Opera House in Buxton there is absolutely no chance and if you want to catch a connecting bus from Buxton to Bakewell, for example, you just can’t do it. It is a bit unfair.”
Betty Cotton, from New Mills, said she feared elderly residents living in the Jubilee Street area of New Mills, would be left stranded by the changes if this part of the route for service 389 was axed.
“I just don’t understand the thinking behind it.
“They (the bus company) are penalising pensioners. None of us can skateboard down to the shops,” Mrs Cotton added.
l To see the proposed new timetables, visit www.highpeakbuses.com.