Derbyshire County Council is consulting over plans to change supported bus services which, if their proposals go ahead, will greatly affect many rural bus services in Derbyshire.
These proposals are shortsighted and I feel will have terribly damaging outcomes for our community, especially in rural areas.
Over 60s Gold Card holders will be severely affected with the outcome for many elderly bus users to be denied the opportunity for travel.
Many people in this group may not be able to afford to pay for bus services and those that can will be restricted to very few services each day because the bus companies will not fund routes where buses are under used as a result of fewer people travelling by bus due to these cuts.
These proposals will force some folk in our community to stay indoors. At present they can travel for free and,, perhaps just as important, they can socialise whilst on their bus travels.
These cuts may also badly affect people with disabilities, special needs or those having a mental health issue.
The ability for many to travel and avoid the rush hour is very important.
Those of us who do have a choice to use public transport or drive our cars, but have complied with enthusiasm to the county council, local councils, The Peak Park Authority and many other agencies’ pleas to leave our cars behind, will be forced to use our cars.
This will not help our common goal to reduce our fossil fuel emissions and is frankly a mockery to the climate change debate to cut back our carbon footprint.
More congestion on our roads, towns and city will result. Car parking is already a major problem.
More accidents will inevitably result with higher costs for our NHS.
Many elderly folk rely on bus services for their shopping, GP surgery, hospital and dental trips.
Also leisure visits to towns, villages, country parks and other venues are equally important and will be curtailed, not to mention those who volunteer their time and services for charity etc.
Traders at these venues will be affected and it will be bad news generally for our local economy.
The county council is being forced to make more and more cuts and do have a problem where and when to cut services and we must not forget it is central government’s current austerity programme which has drastically reduced finances to local councils.
Cutting back public transport is not the answer.
It will have serious consequences that will ultimately affect all of us.