One of Derbyshire’s prettiest villages is set to have its bus link restored after illegally parked cars blocked the route
Bus 173 normally runs daily except Sundays from the market town of Bakewell to Cressbrook, five miles northwest.
The link, run by Hulleys of Baslow, was shortlisted two years ago for the award of Britain’s most scenic bus route.
But as UK travellers decide to holiday at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the vehicle has been unable to drive along Cressbrook’s single street because of poorly parked cars.
As a result, Alf Crofts, the bus firm’s owner, temporarily ordered the service to divert away from the village.
Mr Crofts told The Independent: “We’re using the smallest buses possible, which isn’t ideal because of social distancing.
“Even then, with only one way in and one way out of Cressbrook, it’s becoming impossible.
“The bus might have to reverse all the way back. Once it’s stuck, the next trip might have to be dropped.
“We had to suspend it briefly a month ago when all the people staying in holiday lets turned up.
“But on Friday, even the passing places were full of parked cars.
“If a bus can’t get through, what about a fire engine or an ambulance?”
The bus proprietor said his drivers should be able to issue penalty notices for illegally parked cars, in a bid to deter offenders from blocking bus routes.
“The solution might be to train bus drivers how to write parking tickets,” he said. “I’d be happy to go along with that.”
Mr Croft said he is fearful of the long-term effect of the congestion on passengers’ perceptions.
“If the service becomes unreliable, they find alternative means of transport.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We’ve been targeting parking enforcement at beauty spots across the county where inappropriate and inconsiderate parking is causing a problem but we can’t be at every location all of the time.
“The county council subsidises the cost of running this bus service and so it shouldn’t have been withdrawn without talking to us first, but we’ve spoken to the bus company today and agreed that the service will resume from tomorrow while we work with them to try to improve the situation.
“There is already a clearway in place in the area and we will issue parking tickets to vehicles we see parked on it.
“We’d like to remind motorists to check signage before they park so they are aware of any restrictions in place and to park sensibly and considerately in areas where parking is permitted.”