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1 July 2013, 15:10
£500,000 worth of cuts to bus services in Peterborough have been approved, as the City Council attempts to make further savings.
The cuts will lead to a reduction in subsidised bus services in Peterborough from October.
These are the nine percent of the city's bus routes that are financially supported by Peterborough City Council.
According to the Council, 'these are services that cost more to run than the income they generate because there is not enough demand from bus passengers.'
At a meeting of the Council Cabinet today (Monday), councillors approved proposals to reduce spending on these subsidised services from £1.1 million per year to around £600,000 per year.
This will mean that some areas of Peterborough, such as Peakirk and Newborough, will be left with no timetabled bus services.
The Council says that more 'on demand' services will be run in these areas instead.
In a statement from Peterborough City Council, the main changes are outlined as:
• The majority of Stagecoach Citi evening services will continue to be subsidised to ensure they are maintained. These services run from 8.30pm until approximately midnight on Mondays to Saturdays and from 5.30pm until approximately midnight on Sundays. These would not be suited to a demand-responsive service.
• All subsidies to Local Link bus services will stop, and instead more will be invested in a new demand-responsive transport service that is available to residents through schemes such as Call Connect, Octane, Community Link, Rural Dial-a-Ride and the Royal Voluntary Service. The majority of current Local Link passengers access these services in the urban area where there are other alternative commercial services within walking distance.
• The demand responsive service will be increased in order to ensure that the 10 villages that are affected by the removal of the Local Link service, namely Peakirk, Milking Nook, Newborough, Maxey, Etton, Ashton, Ufford, Thornhaugh, Wothorpe and Marholm and the areas of Fengate and Eastern Industry are given priority. When procuring this new extended demand-responsive service the council would seek to provide these areas with morning and evening services for workers and school children.
Councillor Matthew Dalton, Cabinet Advisor to the Leader (Planning and Housing), said: "The spending review announced last week confirmed that the city council will have lost 43 percent of its government grant, or £35 million, in just five years and this means, as well as making efficiencies, we have to look at delivering services differently.
We have made the decision to continue subsidising late night bus services in the city; however it’s clear that we cannot continue to subsidise Local Link services.
We have been told by the bus operators that to continue the current Local Link service we will need to pay almost double what we do at the moment, and that’s on services that are significantly underused.
Instead we want to invest more money into extending our successful demand-responsive services in the city including those specifically targeted at those vulnerable members of the community that cannot use normal public transport or that live in villages surrounding the city."