Vital bus service for Ilkeston pensioners faces axe

Shoppers who are unhappy about the prospect of losing the bus service which takes them to Morrisons.
Shoppers who are unhappy about the prospect of losing the bus service which takes them to Morrisons.

A door-to-door bus service that is a lifeline for elderly and disabled people in Ilkeston is at risk of being axed because of funding cuts.

Bosses at Erewash Community Transport Ltd have started a petition following the decision by Derbyshire County Council to stop funding essential community transport services from April 2016, to save £860,000. For ECT this means a loss of £148,500.

Without funding the scheme cannot continue providing its Dial-a-Bus service, which transports people to shops and supermarkets, and aCTive Travel, which takes people to medical appointments.

Pensioner Peggy Adams, a former nurse who lives on Hodson Drive, has been using the service for 17 years and said it is more than just a bus service. She said: “It is our lifeline and gives us independence and freedom of choice. We go to markets, garden centres and Skegness once a year. We are all friends and without it we can’t get to Morrisons or anywhere like that. It’s everything to us, we’d be stuffed without it.”

Tina Appleby from ECT, said: “These services are considered by our passengers as their ‘lifeline’; a safe means of leaving their home environments, retaining their independence and maintaining links and contact within their own community.

“Around 600 people are transported to and from local shops each month.

“Not only will the loss of services affect the lives and welfare of our community members, it will have a genuinely detrimental effect on local businesses as we are sure they will notice the loss of such a high volume of regular customers.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said if a petition attracts more than 7,500 signatures the petitioners can request a debate at the next full council meeting. The lead petitioner is offered the opportunity to present the case to councillors at this meeting followed by a debate.

She said: “Where, as in this case, a petition concerns an issue on which the cabinet, rather than the council, will make the final decision, the council will decide whether or not to make recommendations to cabinet to inform that decision.”

In order that this decision may be re-examined, at least 7,500 signatures are needed by November.

To sign the petition visit Derbyshire.gov