Moorlands ConnectWith summer on the way, we’re looking forward to getting out and about more in our beautiful Moorlands countryside. But how do we get there? In most cases it has to be by car, although some intrepid souls take the bike, even with our hills! Electric bikes are making that easier and electric cars help to allay our concerns about carbon emissions. Nevertheless, there are still tremendous problems with car numbers, as we outlined in an article two years ago - Congestion: a Tale of Two Counties. With so many people wanting to visit, public transport would appear to be an obvious solution but with infrequent rural bus services it’s not surprising visitors lose confidence and opt to drive instead. Is Moorlands Connect one possible solution?

At present it seems  an ideal option is still Moorlands Connect, a demand responsive bus service that operates in an area approximately between Ashbourne and Cheadle in the south and Buxton and Leek in the north. It even runs into a part of Cheshire. It needs to be booked in advance, either by phone or on a dedicated app, but this means you can be picked up or dropped off anywhere within its area of operation. It can also interconnect with scheduled bus services. Each bus can also take a wheelchair or up to 3 bicycles and fares are very reasonable.

Does that sound too good to be true? Not so, reported a very satisfied Moorlands resident, although she and her friends had found it difficult to believe in at first. However, a word of warning. This project is funded by ‘monies received from the Rural Mobility Fund as part of the Department for Transport's Better Deal for Bus Users.’ That’s great but there’s always a risk that such laudable projects are discontinued because they appear not to be used. If we think it’s a great service, perhaps we ought to get out and use it – and see more of our beautiful countryside without having to concentrate on driving!  After all, empty buses being driven arouns are no better that half-empty cars.