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Next stop... bus cuts? Council consult on public transport withdrawals

Bus cuts

Bus cuts

 

Herts County Council is proposing cuts to subsidised bus services in an effort to meet a £700,000 saving in its budget.

The authority is seeking the public’s views on how much financial support it provides to 119 bus services in the county, which are given funding help as they are not commercially viable due to limited demand.

The efforts cost the council £3.8m every year, and to reduce costs, it is proposing to withdraw all funding to services that run after 6.30pm daily and any that run on a Sunday.

Cabinet member for highways Terry Douris said: “Like all local authorities, Herts County Council is facing major pressures on our budget.

“Over the last four years we have made savings of £149m a year while protecting essential front line services. However, a similar amount needs to be saved by 2017/18, so difficult decisions will have to be made.

“We currently spend £3.8m every year subsidising bus services which are not used enough to make them commercially viable.

“The amount of support we pay per passenger journey ranges from 10p to over £9 per person.

“In the current financial climate, we need to review whether this arrangement provides the best value for all Hertfordshire taxpayers while meeting, as far as possible, the essential travel needs of the county’s residents.

“The county council is committed to saving at least £700k from the annual bus budget of £3.8m by April 2015. No decisions have been made yet on how to make this saving and we want your views on our proposed ideas. It’s really important to us that we hear from as many residents as possible – whether you’re a regular bus user or not – so we can make informed decisions.”

The vast majority of bus services in Hertfordshire are operated commercially by bus operators and will not be affected by the latest proposals or the the public consultation.

Children entitled to free travel to and from school will continue to be provided with transport and the authority says it will continue to support concessionary fares for young and older people.

Click here to take part in the consultation online, or visit your local library for a paper copy.

The deadline for responses is Wednesday, October 8.

Would you be affected by the proposed cuts? Let us know why you want subsidised bus services to remain as they are by emailing thegazette@jpress.co.uk

 

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