BUS shelters across Fareham could disappear because of the cost of looking after them.
In 2001 a contract was awarded to Primesight to maintain the area’s 156 shelters. But this is due to end in June, and it is feared Primesight may not renew the deal, meaning the council would have to take over the shelters.
It has prompted the council to look into its options – including removing them completely.
Many councillors spoke at Fareham Borough Council’s latest executive meeting and urged the council to take over the running of the shelters, even though this would cost money.
Hill Head ward councillor Arthur Mandry said: ‘To my mind, when significant sums of money are subsidising public transport, a decision to remove all bus shelters is unthinkable.’
Fareham North West ward councillor Peter Davies said: ‘Clearly we need to have bus shelters and encourage the use of public transport. We need to think about more, not less.’
Under the original agreement, Primesight maintained the shelters in exchange for advertising at no cost or profit to the council.
Although Primesight declined to comment, it is feared that it will pull out of this deal, and could remove the 44 shelters that it owns.
Executive member for streetscene Councillor Tiffany Harper said: ‘This is the worst-case scenario and possibly an assumption.
‘But it was part of the contract that it could take those bus shelters down.’
She said that when the contract began there were fewer bus shelters.
She said: ‘Lots have popped up over the last 15 years, therefore the maintenance has increased, putting pressure on Primesight. This is the main problem.’
A decision was made to look into spending £451,000 on shelters over the next 12 years, despite the council having no statutory obligation to provide any.
This money would come from the Community Infrastructure Levy and a report estimates the council could earn £42,600 per year from advertising revenue from 2016/17.
Officers will now seek tenders from interested parties and will report back to a future executive meeting.