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New bus cuts proposals discussed

 Published on: 5th November 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Uncategorized

A recent meeting was held by the Highways and Waste Management Panel to discuss the results of the public consultation on the bus cuts affecting Hertfordshire.

The Panel discussed options on November 4 for a further consultation and is recommending to Cabinet that a consultation goes ahead with three proposals for possible changes to 119 bus services that are subsidised by Hertfordshire County Council: The proposals are to withdraw funding from subsidised services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturdays, withdraw funding from subsidised services that operate on a Sunday (except for routes that directly serve hospitals up to 7.30pm) and limit the amount of subsidy per passenger journey across all subsidised services. These recommendations will now go to Cabinet on December 15 2014. If approved, it is likely that a consultation will launch in January 2015. The county council does not run bus services -it currently subsidises a number of bus companies to provide services which are not used enough to make them commercially viable. It was these services–119 in total across the county–that were the focus of the consultation, to which 4,548 residents responded. Over the last four years, the county council has delivered savings totalling £149m across the council while protecting essential frontline services. Due to further significant reductions in national funding and other pressures the county council needs to save a further £147m over the next four years. Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways and Waste Management, said: “Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation, signed petitions and wrote to us–this information has been helpful in shaping revised options for some of the 119 bus services that are subsidised by the county council. “Based on the feedback we have received, the revised options we are now proposing for consultation include a later cut off point for subsidised services, protection where possible for routes that directly serve hospitals and establishing a limit of funding to be made available for supporting local bus services. “Despite having already made some savings, the funding gap remains an ongoing challenge. The proposals for a further consultation will enable us to make informed decisions about how to make the savings needed in the future. “We will have to make some difficult decisions in the months and years ahead, but we have to prioritise how we spend our money to deliver the services that are most needed and we have to do this within our existing budgets.” A copy of the Panel paper, which includes a summary of the consultation findings, is available on: http://www.hertsdirect.org/your-council/civic_calendar/highwayswastecp/18311972/ What do you think of the latest proposals? E-mail nicholas@mynewsmag.co.uk

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