COMMUNITIES in the Staffordshire Moorlands are to continue to enjoy the benefits of a the Moorlands Connect bus service – after new arrangements were agreed between Staffordshire County Council and the bus operator.
The service was due to end on April1 following a review of journeys the county council could continue to subsidise, but now thanks to some third party funding, reducing from a two bus to one bus operation and reshaping of times and fares, a service will continue to be provided by Ashbourne Community Transport.
Mark Deaville, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Commercial, said: “While it was impossible for taxpayers to continue to subsidise bus journeys to the tune of £10 per head in some cases, we know that Moorlands Connect is valued by the local communities and we are pleased that third party funding has been secured for 2018/19.
“After working with Ashbourne Community Transport and exploring other options, I am pleased to say that there will still be a Moorlands Connect bus on our roads to link the villages of Staffordshire Moorlands.
“While there will need to be changes to the timings of the service and to fares to keep it on the road, this is clearly good news for residents and I would like to thank Ashbourne Community Transport for its help in making this work.”
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Councillor for Leek Rural, said: “It is great news for people in my ward that we will still have one bus on the road and I do hope people will continue to use and support this service.”
Details of the revised services from 1 April 2018 are available directly from Ashbourne Community Transport on the Moorlands Connect on its website at www.ashbournect.org.uk
The county council is currently working with operators and partners to see if any further changes to the network across the county are feasible with the £1.3m subsidy pot.