Sunday, 20 August 2017

Services threatened by £6.3m bus cuts

PEOPLE who rely on buses would suffer if subsidised services are cut, a public meeting heard.

PEOPLE who rely on buses would suffer if subsidised services are cut, a public meeting heard.

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting the public on plans to cut some subsidies while trying to protect services used mainly by older and disabled passengers.

About 10 members of the public attended the meeting held at Henley town hall on Thursday last week.

Alexandra Bailey, the council’s supported transport services manager, said her department had to find £6.3million of savings from a budget of £30million.

The routes in the Henley Standard circulation area that could be affected are the 151, 152 and 154 Henley services; 139 Wallingford to Henley; 145 Woodcote to Henley; 125 Watlington to Wallingford; 134 Goring to Wallingford; M1 Watlington to Reading and M2 Nettlebed to Reading.



Mrs Bailey said: “We’re planning to save £3.7million just by doing what we already do, better. This is a big chunk towards what we were asked to find.”

She said 10 per cent of bus services in Oxfordshire were currently subsidised, meaning the council pays a bus company towards the cost of services that would not be commercially viable otherwise.

“Our first proposal is to protect bus subsidies spent on off-peak services most frequently used by older people and disabled people,” said Mrs Bailey. “Or we could protect the peak services used by people travelling to work. There is also a third option to protect leisure services at evenings and weekends.

“It is fair to say that in our meetings so far the first two are the ones people have said they really value.”

Norman Gibson, from Nettlebed, said residents who did not drive wouldn’t able to get out the village without a bus service. He added: “Peak time buses are used by people going to work and there are going to be a lot of people unable to get to work if the service is cut.”

The consultation ends on Monday. To respond, visit https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/stconsultation/consultationhome



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