The sensational article in last week’s Advertiser (‘Anger as Pupils Lose School Bus Service’) tells only part of the story regarding bus services from West Hallam and Stanley Common to Kirk Hallam School.
There are still two dedicated services operated by Littles and the pupils inconvenienced live within three miles of the school and are not eligible for free or subsidised transport.
The 59 bus in the morning is by no means overcrowded. I travelled on it recently and counted 54 pupils plus five adult passengers which is well under the certified limits on the Mercedes Citaros used on this service. These are designed to carry large numbers of standees as is the norm in mainland Europe. For the return journey there is also a Black Cat bus with a further 25 vacant seats scheduled only three minutes later.
Operating bus services is an expensive business and requires a minimum of £400 revenue per bus per day to be viable. Service 59 is already supported by Derbyshire County Council and it is good to see at least some journeys well used, in contrast with the majority of bus services through West Hallam and indeed the Ilkeston area. With current reductions in passenger revenue and local authority support it is likely that most rural bus services will have disappeared within ten years, as I highlighted recently on the BBC1 Countryfile programme. Complaining about well-used buses is not helpful to the cause. Maybe if more parents used the existing services to get to work and the shops the bus companies would be able to afford increased peak time capacity?
Station Road, West Hallam