Changes to buses as Hampshire County Council cuts £1.5m costs

Fareham First Bus Depot
Fareham First Bus Depot
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SUNDAY bus services are to face the axe as the county council looks to cut £1.5m from the money it uses to subsidise bus services.

Executive member for transport, Sean Woodward, will sign off the proposals today at a Hampshire County Council meeting.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘Most of Hampshire is rural and if I took away the only bus service from a rural community that would make them vulnerable.

‘So I have been looking at evening and weekend services across the county.’

The council conducted a survey, of which more then 3,200 people responded.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘The survey said that weekday services were most important to bus users, but I have to make savings by cutting the services which are little used.’

The council spends £20m on bus provision every year, of which £13.5m goes towards providing the older persons’ bus pass.

Hampshire County Council currently allows older people to use their passes from 9am, at a cost of £300,000 per year, which other councils do not.

Cllr Woodward is also expected to end the early start for bus passes, on the proviso that the user can get an alternative bus from their stop by 10.30am.

In Hampshire, 72 per cent of bus services are run commercially, with 28 per cent subsidised by the council.

Bus usage in the county is at a 20-year high, and is up 20 per cent in Fareham and Gosport this year, partly due to the success of the Eclipse service.

This afternoon, Cllr Woodward will sign off a raft of changes, including:

- The 26 will no longer run from Fareham to Hedge End;

- The 28/28A will run to Whiteley/Park Gate only;

- The 11 will only run Monday to Friday;

- The 21 will see new times, will not run to Lee-on-the-Solent and will not run on Saturday evenings;

- The F1/F2 will no longer run on a Sunday.

The council will also save money on the printed information it provides by moving online, saving £60,000 per year.