Public are asked to have their say on cuts to bus subsidies

PUBLISHED: 09:18 30 September 2011

A DECISION to slash the £2.7 million spent on subsidising bus services in the county is being reviewed by Cambridgeshire County Council, and residents and bus users are now being asked for their views on the planned cuts.

Letters have gone out to community groups, local councils and interested parties, asking for comments and a questionnaire to be completed.

Last year, the Council decided to cut the £2.7 million that is currently spent on subsidising bus journeys in Cambridgeshire over the next four years, and authority says the review is being held as part of this year’s budget planning process.

About 80 per cent of bus services in Cambridgeshire are provided by commercial operators without subsidy, but the council subsidises which bus operators are unable to operate on a commercial basis.

A council spokesman said: “In the future, this may not be possible due to reduced overall grants to councils from government and increased costs of services. The County Council needs to make cumulative savings of around £540 million over the next five years and some of these savings have to come from the transport budget.

“This review is being carried out as part of the council’s budget planning process, ensuring the authority consults widely and seek views on not only the principle of making the cuts but also on the impact of specific route changes. The Council is also looking back at the routes that have already been cut, gathering feedback on how this has impacted communities in these areas.”

The council’s cabinet has also agreed the Cambridgeshire Future Transport project should go forward. This aims to look an innovative ways or providing transport and to focus on community and local needs. This could be through the expansion of community transport, or developing completely new forms of demand-led transport.

There are also posters on buses encouraging people to have their say. An online questionnaire is available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/busreview <http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/busreview>

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, said: “We urge people to have their say so we can plan properly and design new transport initiatives to help meet the needs of our communities.”

Paper copies of the questionnaire are available by: email bus.tenders@cambridgeshire.gov.uk, By telephone 0345 045 0675; or by post from Cambridgeshire County Council, CC1301, Castle Court, Shire Hall, Cambridge CB3 0AP

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