Raft of Portsmouth bus journeys facing axe under cost-cutting plans

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BUS journeys are at risk of being axed as part of plans to slash the amount of money provided to run routes in Portsmouth.

The city council is to decide in two days how to claw back £150,000 it gives operators to run buses for residents, meaning a number of roads won’t be called at any more.

Regrettably, we have had to recommend cutting some services.

Alan Cufley, the council’s director of transport, environment and business support

It’s recommended the First bus 19 service, which runs through areas like Baffins, city centre, Fratton and Southsea, is scaled back and stops calling in 11 streets.

They are; Stubbington Avenue, Eastern Road (Between Hayling Avenue and Langstone Road), Rodney Road, Fratton Way, Winter Road, Waverley Road, South Parade, Clarence Parade, Avenue De Caen, Clarence Esplanade and Broad Street.

Four roads as part of the 24 service have been earmarked for the chop – Port Way (Port Solent), Clement Attlee Way, Binnacle Way and Compass Way – and the 15 and 16 service would stop going to the Eastney Lifeboat Station section of Ferry Road.

The council currently subsidises bus routes which are not profitable for commercial companies to run.

A report going to Thursday’s traffic and transport meeting says there has been a rise in ‘reimbursement’ costs given to bus firms for concessionary fares, putting extra ‘financial pressures’ on the budget.

The current cost of providing the Nationwide Travel Concession Scheme – which allows free bus travel throughout England – and the amount of money given to bus firms for routes comes in at just under £5m a year.

Alan Cufley, the council’s director of transport, environment and business support, said: ‘We have looked at all the subsidised bus services and made recommendations on how to maximise accessibility across the city within the budget available and maintain as many routes as possible where there would otherwise be no provision.

‘Regrettably, we have had to recommend cutting some services.’

Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome said: ‘Unfortunately we are in a position where these savings need to be made.

‘This is a difficult decision which will impact on some residents and I will be considering the report very carefully.’

A decision over the future of bus journeys which takes place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday at 5pm.

The meeting agenda and report can be found at portsmouth.gov.uk by searching ‘council meetings’ and 
clicking on ‘cabinet member for traffic and transportation’.

The entire budget will be finalised along with the council’s tax level for 2016/2017 at the next all member meeting on February 9.