The end of funding from October 2022
The Bus recovery Grant has been extended, with funding ending on October 4th 2022. Operators are expected to provide services at 90% of pre covid levels until the end of June 2022,
this dropping to 80% for the remainder of the period - an acceptance that a full recovery is not likely in the short term at least.
Interestingly operators are still eligible if they operate less than this amount due to extenuating circumstances,
including driver shortages, which continue to be a problem for one local operator in particular.
Each local authority area has produced a "bus service improvement plan", and money is set to be dished out very soon, to allow some of these ideas to be implemented.
Whether or not this will be enough remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely. It will take some work and time for the reputation of "the bus" to recover.
Bus usage was in decline before covid, now after an active campaign to get people to avoid it, it will be an uphill struggle for some time.
There is potential to have a better, greener bus netowork in Derby.
This does not solely depend on funding, but also how operators and local authorities work together to organise and promote it.
Sadly without any of that, it looks asthough the current bus network will continue to a reduced frequency and / or parts removed.
Trent Barton service changes
Trent barton are still battling on through a severe driver shortage. Despite many routes being temporarily withdrawn/reduced frequencies since November (is that still temporary?),
several services are still cancelled each day at very short notice, including first and last journies of the day.
This has made the bus alot less appealing to existing and returning customers, making services unreliable or even unusable, damaging their reputation and making a mockery of the "really good bus company" slogan.
The situation is not unique to trent barton, as they point out it is due to a national driver shortage.
However other operators appear to handle it better, publishing details of cancelled services the day before, instead of after they have failed to operate - resulting in a more managed situation, less complaints and less stress all round for customers and employees.