Alfreton council raises safety fears over new buses

Alfreton Town Council has raised concerns over safety and congestion ahead of the introduction of a new bus fleet against residents' wishes.

Sunday, 8th January 2017, 7:19 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:21 pm
One of the new Enviro200 buses which now run Trent Bartons Nines route.

Mayor Mary Kerry is leading the calls for bus operator Trent Barton to avoid running larger vehicles in busy areas.

The company is introducing 14 new Enviro200 buses on the Derby to Mansfield Nines route, as of Monday, January 9, in a move announced last year as part of a £3.5million investment programme.

At 10.8 metres, the buses are around one metre longer than the previous model.

The news comes after service bosses assured Alfreton residents that the town’s Alma and Grange Streets would not be further affected by road hazards.

Councillor Kerry said: “It is regrettable that buses continue to run down narrow residential streets filled daily with young children.

“But to find out that Trent Barton are reneging on their promise to local residents a little over 18 months since the public meeting is totally unacceptable.”

More than 100 residents attended a meeting in 2015 to highlight fears that the roads along the bus route were too narrow and congested, and pass three schools, three nurseries and a Surestart centre.

The council is now calling on Trent Barton to rethink its plans and run the buses via the High Street.

However, the company say that option has already been explored, and presents other feasibility issues.

Service deliver director Tom Morgan said: “The Nines have been using Alma Street since 2015, a decision mutually agreed with Alfreton Town Council without any incidents.

“Timekeeping is our customers’ number one concern, and since the change our punctuality has improved considerably.”

He added: “High Street is prone to congestion and we have highlighted various issues with the council but sadly no improvements have been made.

“We hope with this investment we can get more members of the public out of their cars and on to public transport, which will help to relieve congestion—and the buses use the latest emissions technology to reduce their impact on the environment.”

The company will invite the mayor to inspect the new buses and discuss the High Street congestion issues again.

The Enviro200 vehicles will offer passengers more seats and more legroom, plus free WiFi and USB power onboard.