Subsidies for some county bus services could be lost in a bid to save Herefordshire Council £1million (From Ledbury Reporter)
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Subsidies for some county bus services could be lost in a bid to save Herefordshire Council £1million
6:02am Sunday 16th March 2014 in News
SUBSIDIES for some of the county’s bus services could be lost entirely in a bid to save £1million.
Herefordshire Council this week started a consultation programme on proposed changes to bus services.
The local authority estimates that around two thirds of the savings required can be achieved by working closely with bus operators to explore “more efficient” services and journey planning.
That could include integrating certain contracts such as school transport services within the wider bus network and "route thinning".
“We will also consider whether or not some supported services might be able to operate commercially without subsidy, while also reducing the frequency of certain services," said councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing.
“However, it is unlikely that we will save £1million purely through efficiencies; therefore we will also have to consider withdrawing the subsidy for some bus services altogether.”
It is not yet known which services could lose subsidies but coun Powell said that limited rural or market day “lifeline” services will be retained as a feeder service.
According to Herefordshire Council, approximately 3.1million bus journeys are made each year throughout the county, 39 per cent of which are supported by a council subsidy, which costs £1.6million.
An additional £1.4million is also spent on reimbursing bus operators for concessionary travel, which covers free bus travel for older and disabled people.
The Hereford Times reported in January that campaigners in Much Dewchurch and the surrounding villages fear proposed changes could signal the end for the 412 service from Garway to Hereford.
It is considered a "vital lifeline" for those with no alternative means of getting to the city to shop, make hospital appointments and attend work or college.
Paper copies of the consultation document are set to be made available to bus operators and other outlets.
The consultation runs until April 21. A decision is expected to be made on route changes in June.
Any new proposals will then be implemented from September.
The consultation document is available at herefordshire.gov.uk/busreview
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