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14 November 2013, 07:15 | Updated: 14 November 2013, 07:19
Borough of Poole is consulting with passengers as it reviews its subsidised local bus services.
The majority of bus routes in Poole are operated without the need for additional financial subsidy. However, services with fewer passengers such as those operating in the evenings, at weekends or away from busy roads, require financial support to be viable.
Bus users are being asked to give their views on the proposed reduction in the bus subsidy budget, which is being considered as part of the council's drive to save money.
The consultation will include on-bus surveys and passengers will also be invited to have their say in writing or via the council's website boroughofpoole.com by 14 February 2014.
Last year the council spent more than £800,000 subsidising bus services in the borough. With the council facing budget pressures of £22.8million over the next four years, this subsidy is one of the areas being reviewed and potential savings identified.
Borough of Poole is hoping to improve the efficiency of some of the services by combining routes or reducing their frequency rather that losing entire services altogether.
A list of proposals has been put together, in consultation with Wilts & Dorset, which could generate potential savings of up to £100,000 per annum.
Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole, said:
"This is a consultation exercise and no decisions will be made until the process is complete and the results have been analysed. We recognise that the bus service is vital for many residents and any decision to reduce the subsidy will not be taken lightly. However this is now the time when, unfortunately, the cuts and pressures we have been warning about for some time, are now hitting us. We have worked really hard to try and avoid services being affected, but this is just no longer possible with the budget we are allocated in Poole."
The consultation starts on Monday 18 November. Any changes to the bus service will not be implemented until after 1 April 2014.