People urged to have say on proposed bus funding cuts

First published in News from across the region

PEOPLE are being encouraged to have their say on proposed bus funding cuts.

Anyone in Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa with a view on Worcestershire County Council's proposals to withdraw the £3million it currently uses to fund bus subsidies are being urged to speak up during the last few weeks of the consultation.

People wishing to have their say can do so until January 17 through an online questionnaire at worcestershire.gov.uk/busservicereview. The dedicated web page contains background information, a full list of services currently subsidised across the county and e-versions of the consultation document, which can be downloaded and printed off.

Alternatively, paper questionnaires are available from Worcestershire's libraries.

Plans have been put forward to remove the taxpayers' money spent on bus subsidies to help meet the financial challenge the council faces dues to reduced levels of central Government funding. Over the next 12 months a total of £30million of savings need to be made across the council.

The majority of journeys on bus services in Worcestershire are provided by commercial operators with no involvement from the council. These proposals will not affect those services.

Currently £3million of taxpayers' money is spent to plug gaps in the commercial network – usually the less popular or less well used services. The average spend on such subsidised services is around £1 per passenger journey.

Councillor John Smith OBE, Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member for highways, said: "The financial challenge the council is currently faced with means there has to be tough decisions made on how taxpayers' money is spent. This issue is such an example.

"It's vital we have as much information as possible from the public when it comes to making a final decision on the proposals currently on the table. I'd urge anyone with a view to take the opportunity during this consultation period to have their say."

Any future changes to the bus subsidy spend would not be implemented until September 2014.

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