Derbyshire community transport shake-up after new DfT guidance sees O licences replace S19, and one CTO go into liquidation
A Section 19 community transport service in Derbyshire has changed into a tendered service requiring operator licences.
Derbyshire Connect ‘shopping’ buses went into service earlier this month, replacing the Dial-a-Bus (DAB) previously run on the Council’s behalf by the county’s six community transport groups.
The new Derbyshire Connect minibus services will initially operate in the same way as the old-style DAB services. They will run door-to-door picking up passengers from home and taking them to an agreed destination. Every community in Derbyshire will have the opportunity for the weekly shopping trip.
Holders of Derbyshire’s travel, discount and library card for older people and the disabled, the Gold Card, can travel free-of-charge after 9.30am. Previously they paid a £3 flat rate return fare.
Derbyshire Connect is being operated by Ashbourne Community Transport in the south and west of the county and Community Transport for Town and County (CT4TC) in the north and east. DAB was grant funded by Derbyshire County Council.
The decision to tender the routes came before the recently issued government guidance on Section 19 and 22 operations, which confirmed that those with these licences cannot run openly-tendered contracts and, in some cases, may need fully-licensed drivers with DCPC (see B&CB 1442, 11 August 2017 for our special feature on this).
- The news follows this summer’s decision to close Clowne and District Community Transport, whose vehicles and office contents are being auctioned by liquidators, via White & Co Auctions, on 7 November at its premises in Crossroads Business Park, Clowne. Derbyshire’s withdrawal of grant aid was the reason given for the service being untenable, and Clowne DCT withdrew its application for O licences. The auction includes five modern, accessible minibuses (see them at https://goo.gl/CW2zjf)