Petition to save bus service for Ilkeston pensioners is signed by 17,000

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 petition to try and save bus services for elderly and disabled people in Erewash has been signed by more than 17,000 people.

Derbyshire Community Transport Schemes, which includes Erewash Community Transport, is calling on Derbyshire County Council to re-think proposed funding cuts to the vital services.

The cuts would mean a loss of £148,50 for ECT which drives around 600 people on vital journeys each month.

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.

A total of 7,500 signatures were needed in order for the council to discuss it at cabinet. The petition has been signed by 17,196 people.

Jackie Hrynczyszyn, personnel co-manager at ECT since 1987, said she was hopeful it would persuade the council to change its mind about the funding, which was cut by 40 per cent last year.

She said: “We take 600 people a month so if the others do the same it’s a huge undertaking.

“I really don’t know what the users will do without it because they consider it their lifeline. Many of them live in villages and can’t get to a bus stop or get their shopping back on a public bus.

“Some of the responses we’ve had bring a lump to your throat. People can’t afford a taxi.”

The service started up almost 30 years ago and now has more users than ever, having grown from two buses to 24.

The under-threat Dial-A-Bus service uses four vehicles each week day.

The petition will be handed in at county hall in Matlock next week.

Jackie added: “There are eight schemes throughout Derbyshire so we are hoping that one vehicle full of passengers from each scheme will go to county hall on December 2.

“We are currently talking to the National Lottery board about funding to see if we can offer a similar type of service but that is still at the early stages. We’re doing everything we can to get funding.”

If the funding is cut the service would be put out to tender and could see just one bus service for each town per week, at supermarkets chosen by the authority.