Last chance for bus users to share cuts concerns

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BUS users still have a chance to have their say on Hampshire County Council’s subsidy cuts scheme.

As The News reported this week, the council will cut £2.2m from the £6.7m it pays private bus companies for services which are underused or unprofitable.

It means 13 services in Fareham, Gosport and Havant will be reduced, or stopped completely.

The council’s head of transport, Cllr Mel Kendall, said the cuts had to be made because the council has to save £55m this year, and £45m in 2012-13.

But he said: ‘Although there is little we can do about the cuts themselves, we do want to make sure that if there are difficulties caused by them, we can iron them out.

‘For example, we don’t want a situation where a change of route leads to older people having to walk up a steep hill to get a bus. We want anyone who can see a situation like this arising to contact us so we can alter routes to make services more convenient.’

Cllr Kendall will make his final decision on the matter on Wednesday. He has assured bus users they will not be stranded without transport, even where services are to be cancelled.

He said: ‘The bus companies’ view is some services have too few people using them. But we know people use them and rely on them, so the taxi replacement service will make sure they have a means to travel.’

The service enables people to book a taxi before they need to travel, and pay the same price as they would have been charged for a bus ticket.

Cllr Kendall said: ‘It isn’t ideal, but it means we save money, while people can still travel.’

For a full list of services which will be affected, visit: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/councilmeetings/meetingsummary.htm?date_ID=817

To contact the council, e-mail: environment.bus.review@hants.gov.uk

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