Outside the cities, there are major differences in local authorities’ support for what should be lifeline connections — with demand responsive services introduced in several areas

There is little money to be made in rural bus services. Nothing new there. Even by 1962, the trade magazine Passenger Transport — merged with Buses Illustrated six years later to become today’s Buses — recorded that Lincolnshire Road Car Company reckoned more than 50% of its network was loss-making.

Hulleys of Baslow 18 (PL06 TGF), an Alexander Dennis Dart with MCV Evolution body, at Litton in the Derbyshire Peak District while operating service 173 (Bakewell-Castleton).

Inevitably it is the councils that fund deeply rural services, a difficult task for some as budgets are cut and cut. Yet there are sharp contrasts across the East Midlands, with each council following different policies with starkly different outcomes, as the Department for Transport figures for bus use in each authority show.

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