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Councillor hits out at bus route cuts around Kings Langley

 Published on: 28th July 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Uncategorized

alan_anderson-newA councillor for Dacorum Borough Council is angry at the potential cut on funding on bus routes in and around Kings Langley. Councillor Alan Anderson is annoyed that the proposed reduction might not be necessary if it was figured out how the bus companies are subsidised for providing pensioners free bus travel. He said: “The funding that the bus companies received for providing pensioners free travel was based on ‘finger in the air’ estimates on pensioner bus usage, rather than any analysis on how much pensioners were actually using the buses, and when DBC had the duty, we were required to pay such a huge amount that it wasn’t physically possible for that many pensioners to be using the buses that much. Or, when I say we had to pay, I mean the council taxpayer had to pay, because the government grant was tiny in comparison with the cost, and it was just galling that pensioners had to pay 11% of their council tax for their ‘free’ bus travel – it was just typical of the Gordon Brown government that they could force pensioners to pay that much money for something that was supposed to be free. The bus companies complained it would cost them too much money to measure how much pensioners were using their buses, when basic analysis of ticket sales was readily available, and naturally were going to oppose anything that would reduce their subsidy.  Bus drivers were also refusing to give pensioners return tickets and only giving out the more expensive single fare tickets. Those in government, meanwhile, were happy to force local authorities to pay the extra subsidy, as a little extra to keep the bus companies going/as they didn’t have to pay for it, and dismissed any criticism of the system as being from people opposed to pensioners having free bus travel. I was always fully supportive of pensioners having free bus travel, and if the system has been sorted subsequently, then that is a further relief. But if it hasn’t been, in my strong opinion, the subsidy should be measured/reimbursed properly, the subsidy should be paid for through income tax, not council tax, so that as far as pensioners are concerned, it is ‘free’, and any additional subsidy should be openly designated as such or saved from the taxpayer irrespective of authority. “

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