Throughout the last few weeks, there has been concerning news about the future of several local bus services.
The bus services concerned are:
237 – Glossop to Ashton Under Lyne via Hadfield and Tintwistle (Stagecoach)
341 – Glossop to Hyde via Simmondley, Gamesley and Charlesworth (Stotts)
358 – Hayfield to Stockport via New Mills (Stagecoach)
The companies currently running these services have advised that they will stop running them from the end of October 2022.
Why is this happening?
During Covid, the Government provided additional funding to keep bus services running.
In Autumn 2021, the Government provided this funding by providing the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) for operators and the Local Transport Fund (LTF) for Local Transport Authorities.
Both of these funding sources will end in October 2022.
To get the funding from Government, Local Transport Authorities had to agree to work together to undertake Network Reviews with the specified outcome of agreeing on local bus networks, which would be financially sustainable following the end of the funding.
As part of the work on that review Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) has been discussing with operators what the end of the funding for those services that are run on a commercial basis (i.e. they don’t get a subsidy) will mean.
Across Greater Manchester, the various operators have advised 33 services for complete withdrawal; and 32 services with reductions in frequency or changes to the route, there are also 20 services that are flagged for withdrawal elsewhere in Derbyshire.
Included within that list are the 237 and 358, which Stagecoach currently runs.
Stagecoach has advised that these services are no longer commercially viable and have withdrawn them as part of the review.
The situation for the 341 is slightly different as it is a tendered (i.e. supported service), but it is also due to be withdrawn on 30th October.
What’s been done about it?
TFGM is arranging to stabilise the bus network across Greater Manchester and has started a tendering exercise for these services.
However, because we are in Derbyshire, whilst TFGM is working on replacing the services in line with the work in Greater Manchester, it will require support from Derbyshire County Council.
TFGM and DCC are working through the arrangements over the next few weeks, and I have flagged the importance of keeping these services with the Managing Director and Leader of Derbyshire County Council.
When will we know more?
The tendering exercise and discussions between DCC and TFGM will likely take several weeks, and I don’t expect to hear any confirmed details until late in August.