IMG 20230909 112028 HDR3Recently, MCA members caught a bus to take themselves and all their stall kit to the Sustainability Summit at Stoke-on-Trent. The ride only took a little longer than a car journey and was less stressful: we had no parking problem at the other end, enjoyed talking to passengers along the way and got a bit of healthy exercise walking to and from the bus station in Leek. The downside, of course, was that we had to get back before the buses stopped running and couldn’t stay for a celebratory pizza. Also, in the absence of an integrated bus system, we had to pay twice for the two bus legs in each direction, even though the connection was pretty seamless. In this respect, we envy the citizens of Greater Manchester with their Bee Network, where the buses are under local control.

Clearly, the Moorlands isn’t Manchester but there’s a lot of traffic running between Leek and Hanley, even at night. The loss of late services makes teenagers who live along the route dependent on their parents for travel to social engagements. Do parents wait at their destinations or do they do the journey twice, with all that that entails? Similarly, many older people don’t enjoy driving at night but would happily take the bus. It’s an unfortunate fact that the scarcity of buses restricts educational and employment opportunities, particularly for the young. Perhaps there’s scope for putting pressure on the bus companies? Do let us know if you agree, via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This of course would fit in with the government’s Bus Back Better strategy. We appreciate the fares cap that was introduced in March and is now being extended till 30 November 2024 but services also need to be better to persuade drivers to leave their cars at home, even if only occasionally. The Climate Change Committee and others have established that the switch to EV is not enough to meet our net zero commitment, so car demand needs to be limited, but this might only mean everyone taking a bus twice a month instead of a car.

One easy way to do this is to use a bus such as Moorlands Connect for leisure trips, especially into our beautiful countryside and to villages with lovely pubs and tea shops. Better still, travel there and back with your friends and with no one having to be ‘the driver’. You can even contact them to arrange a party trip during the festive season, as long as it’s during the day. Now that buses are starting to take bikes, you can consider taking yours on the hillier part of the trip and enjoying the lovely descent on the mainly downhill leg. If they can do it in the Borders, it should be possible here.