Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Matlock Meanderings [2]

Disappointment from Derbyshire
Our regular readers would not wish to miss the super
high profile official launch of "Optio Orange" in Sheffield
on Monday 19th July. Pictured are (left to right)
Paul Lynch, MD Stagecoach Yorkshire
Giles Fearnley, First Bus big cheese
David Brown, South Yorks PTE Director General
Dave Alexander, First Bus MD Yorkshire
Les Warneford, Stagecoach bus big cheese
and that's it!
No brass band, no scantily clad dancing girls,
No release of 120 doves of peace,
No tear jerking speeches of happy union.
Just a large piece of cardboard! 
Now back to the guest "blog" from our Northampton correspondent
in response to a recent visit to Matlock. He calls it a "rant"! 

Public transport in Matlock, Derbyshire used to be simple. The hourly train to Derby left from the railway station
and all the buses called at the bus station on Bakewell Road in the town centre about half a mile away. Most stopped inside; but buses passing through from Bakewell to Belper and Derby used a stop on the main road just outside.
Then Sainsbury's arrived ...
... bringing with them, I suspect, a big bag of planning gain pennies because Matlock now has a relief road and a new "bus station" at the railway station (good) but not all the buses go there (oh dear!).
Northbound buses from Derby to Bakewell and Buxton call at the new bus station avoiding the town centre. Buses travelling south still use the main road stop outside the old bus station (at the Co-op, formerly Somerfield|) where two bays inside ...
... (underneath the car park) are still in use. Buses that terminate at Matlock seem to do a circuit calling at both points. You have to go round the town clockwise as the original A6 road over the river bridge is now one way westbound. 
Fortunately, this being Derbyshire, there is ample roadside publicity and no doubt the locals know where to wait for the bus home.
How normal visitors (i.e those, unlike us, whose bedtime reading is not bus timetables and maps) manage I am not sure. I wonder if this situation is not part of a trend by planners and councillors who lose all sense when they hear a developer shouting "come and get your lovely section 106 money!"
Section 106 (S106) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows a local planning authority (LPA) to enter into a legally-binding agreement or planning obligation with a landowner in association with the granting of planning permission. The obligation is termed a Section 106 Agreement.

These agreements are a way of delivering or addressing matters that are necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms. They are increasingly used to support the provision of services and infrastructure, such as highways, recreational facilities, education, health and affordable housing.

Do the councillors bother about co-ordinated transport; thinking that only local pensioners use buses, forgetting that we have all day free to go out and vote?

fbb comments:-

The new bus bays at the train station are promoted "on-line" as a transport hub. Clearly they are not. Presumably the loop through the town, enforced by the Matlock Bridge one-way order, is unacceptable to some operators.  How about making the bridge a bus only lane in both directions? Of course, this would inconvenience more private motorists. How sad. But it is an oppportunity missed.

It is to be hoped that, in due course, a solution will be found that brings all public transport together for the benefit of the travelling public.

Next blog : due Thursday July 21st  


  1. There never will be a solution to this in Matlock. The bridge was made one way as a compromise between having at least a bus lane against the flow and full pedestrianisation. No-one, not even buses, can turn right at the end of the bridge to travel the few yards towards the railway station!

    The one big issue in the town is that 99% of bus passengers actually want the bus to serve the old site in Bakewell Road and not the railway station. With a 3 minute each way extra running time needed to serve the bus station for most routes, bus operators can see little commercial advantage for the forseeable future in ripping up timetables and starting again.

    In fact, Trent Barton entered into the spirit fully when the railway station facility was opened but found that significant passenger losses were experienced and quickly cured this by moving all the possible departures back to Bakewell Road as it is today.

    The section 106 funds from Sainsburys is used to extend the town services to the station and supermarket.

  2. Your colleague (and readers) should be aware that this is not an opportunity missed by the Council, but one squandered. The Council were told by both the operators and Users' groups that their plans would not work, but they ignored everyone. I seem to remember an article in the Bus User magazine giving the situation as a good example of bad practice.

    Stagecoach have simply ignored the change, and continue to terminate at the old bus station. As mentioned, Trent have tried to fit in.

    You may be interested in an unexpected knock-on effect. Trent's service 6.1 (Derby - Belper - Wirksworth - Middleton - Matlock - Bakewell) runs hourly throughout, with hourly short workings between Wirksworth and Matlock. When the bypass was opened, the through journeys ran northbound in Matlock via the new bus station and southbound via the old one. After passenger complaints, a double run on the east side of the river was added to enable a call at the old bus station northbound. Unfortunately, this increased the total journey length from just under the 50km domestic hours limit to just over. This was resolved by transferring the double run to Middleton to the short workings. But this would have made the Matlock - Wirksworth - Middleton - Matlock run take more than an hour. So the "tour" of housing areas in Wirksworth was severly pruned, leaving many residents with a long walk to the nearest stop.

    So the Coouncil's determination to ignore bus operators and users has not only inconvenienced those who come to Matlock to visit the old part of the town, but the residents of Wirksworth who no longer have a bus, and the residents of Middleton, who can travel direct to Derby, but have to change (and wait) on the way home.