29 January 2009

Derbyshire soldiers on... for now...

At the start of the week I received the latest edition of Derbyshire County Council's (DCC) Mid & South Derbyshire Bus & Coach timetable book. It is still priced at 80p and contains all the excellent information that readers have hitherto become accustom.

The accompanying letter was not a welcome sight though. I guessed its subject matter prior to reading the text: following the blip the county council had last June when it suddenly ceased production of two of its three comprehensive timetable books, the period of grace that had been granted by them is now at an end and a more definite result is on its way.

By the end of last June a decision was made to resume the production of the timetable books, albeit to a bare minimum timescale (free amendments were not produced as quickly and the written guarantee to produce and send a minimum of two copies of each area guide per year to annual subscribers was not maintained).

I was told by a very nice lady in the Public Transport Unit at DCC's base in Matlock back in November that the 'jury was still out' with regards to what the long-term plan was. At the time I, like many who make very regular use of the county's buses and trains, was just glad to start receiving the books again.

Back in July I commented that there was no official reasoning for the gap in timetable book production given to the book's users, and that it might even be prudent to produce a flier along the lines of 'use it or lose it'. Monday's accompanying letter from Kyle Hulme, DCC's Senior Public Transport Officer, told annual subscribers that, effectively, the jury is still out and in the mean time the latest Mid & South Derbyshire book was enclosed. We're all owed one from last year's reduced subscription period anyway (the Peak District October timetable wasn't produced).

Apparently the way in which DCC provides "bus timetable information is being finalised for the next financial year, in line with budget constraints" and that because of this an annual subscription for this year is not able to be offered, presumably as they plan on ceasing the books' production come the first week in April.

It's the realist in me you know! (GL)