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20 January 2015, 10:40
We could see fewer bus services at night and on Sundays in Hertfordshire because of budget cuts.
Over the past four years Hertfordshire County Council has reduced its budget by £147m and must save a similar amount over the next four years. After listening to the feedback from last year's consultation some alternative options to address concerns raised are being presented.
The proposals are
o To withdraw funding from contracted services which operate after 7.30pm Monday to Saturday
o To withdraw funding from contracted services on Sundays, except for routes which go directly to hospitals which would run until 7.30pm
o To modify the existing Value for Money Criteria to help determine which routes and services will receive funding, taking into account a range of factors including cost per passenger journey and need
o Amend the overall Bus Strategy to reflect any changes in the way bus services are funded
If approved, this new proposition would save approximately £1.471m in a full year from the current base budget of £4.212m, but affect fewer passengers than the original proposals (760,000 passenger journeys a year as opposed to 809,000 passenger journeys a year).
Hertfordshire County Council subsidises about 11% of all buses running in Hertfordshire. The others are commercially run so the vast majority of bus services are not part of this consultation nor will they be affected by any possible changes. Buses funded by the county council are on routes that are not commercially viable.
The consultation proposals will only affect about 2% of all the passenger journeys in Hertfordshire. Information about which services are affected is available online at www.hertsdirect.org/busconsult
Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: "We are committed to engaging with as many residents and stakeholders as possible. We are proposing a later cut off point for contracted services to 7:30pm rather than 6:30pm and will protect services that directly serve hospitals on a Sunday up to 7:30pm.
"We have also listened to resident's comments about the amount of money we give to individual passenger journeys and are seeking to establish a clear, value for money approach by setting a limit on the amount of subsidy we provide to individual journeys."
The consultation closes on 10 April 2015, please take time to have your say at www.hertsdirect.org/busconsult or call 0300 123 4046 to request a paper copy.