Council to consult public on High Peak bus cuts

A Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport driver helps a passenger
A Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport driver helps a passenger

Campaigners are urging as many people as possible to take part in a council consultation that could see transport services used by elderly and vulnerable residents across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales dramatically cut or even totally removed.

Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport is asking its service users to persuade their relatives, friends and even members of the general public to participate in the survey so Derbyshire County Council are made aware just how vital the services are.

In addition to the threat to the services themselves, the group is worried that the length and complexity of the document will put many people off completing it.

Elaine Edwards, chief executive of Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport, said: “These services are a lifeline for people.

“If our users are only going to get out of the house regularly once a week, that is going to be pretty depressing for them.

“Getting out and about makes their days and allows them to socialise with others.

“We are also concerned that people who are 80 and above are having difficulty understanding the form and are therefore not completing it correctly.”

Under the proposals the council are proposing to cut funding for two services the community transport group regard as “essential”.

Active healthcare travel, which helps elderly, isolated and often disabled residents get to important appointments at GP surgeries, hospitals, clinics and dentists, would be first to see its subsidy cut in April 2016.

Without the subsidy from the council, the group say users could face a dramatic increase in costs or will need to make greater demands on carers and relatives.

And, by June 2016, the popular door-to-door Dial-a-Bus services, which help elderly residents go shopping, will also see its funding reduced.

This would mean residents in each town and village in the area will be served by only one bus a week, to a pre-determined destination.

The consultation document states that reductions in government grants, inflation and greater demands on other areas of spending such as adult social care and vulnerable children means that the council must “re-think” the way it delivers services.

And regarding the form itself, a council spokesperson said they had received no complaints but they would be “happy to help” anyone who needed help filling it in.

The consultation can be completed on-line at www.derbyshire.gov.uk and the closing date is September 15.