Bus services across Hampshire could be cut to save money, council says

Hampshire County Council headquarters, in Winchester.
Hampshire County Council headquarters, in Winchester.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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BUS services could be cut as Hampshire County Council considers a budget reduction in public transport subsidies.

The council has launched a public consultation for residents and stakeholders to give their thoughts on the proposals which could also see changes to street lightning.

The local authority is seeking to save £700,000 by making changes to financial support for public transport services.

Feedback from passengers will be carefully looked at, alongside data on passenger journeys and the cost of providing individual routes or services.

A list of possible cuts will be published when the consultation goes live next week.

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at the council, said: ‘We’ve had to look hard at all services the county council provides to close the funding shortfall brought about by reduced funding for services and rising demand for social care for both adults and children.

‘We are, therefore, having to consider how we reduce the subsidies we provide to support those bus services which are not commercially viable to contribute to these savings.

‘Our priority is to direct resources to where they are most needed, and I’m pleased to say the county council’s cabinet agreed earlier this year to protect the community transport service.

‘For some time, I’ve been working with Hampshire’s bus operators to discuss how, between us, we can reduce the impact of our budget pressures on supporting bus travel.

‘The vast majority of journeys are made on commercial services operating without any public subsidy at all but the pressure on the county council’s revenue budget means we can no longer afford the level of subsidies we have provided in the past.’

Community Transport schemes such as Dial-a-Ride, Call and Go, Taxishares and Minibus Group Hire Schemes are not included in these proposals but people will be asked whether the discretionary discount for holders of older persons’ bus passes on community transport should be continued.

The county council is also asking residents their views on proposals to switch off some street lights for two or more hours during the night. This would mean some areas of the county would have no street lighting for a period of the night time.

The consultation goes live at midday on June 11 and will close at midnight of July 22. Visit hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations.