Anger over cuts to town bus service

PUBLISHED: 17:05 08 November 2007 | UPDATED: 15:19 12 May 2010

There is a demand and it will be badly missed’

There is a demand and it will be badly missed’

ROYSTON S No 17 town bus service is to be axed. And the move is blamed on North Herts District Council s decision to end its £130,000 subsidy to Herts County Council. But Royston s county councillor Doug Drake is angry that the decision came without ev

Cllr Doug Drake

ROYSTON'S No 17 town bus service is to be axed.

And the move is blamed on North Herts District Council's decision to end its £130,000 subsidy to Herts County Council.

But Royston's county councillor Doug Drake is angry that the decision came without even a discussion between members at County Hall.

He believed that the county council's transport panel should have taken the decision over the future of the service - and not transport portfolio holder Cllr Stuart Pile.

Cllr Drake said: "People have come to depend on these local daily bus services and many build their lives around them.

"These services should not be removed due to financial constraints with North Herts District Council," he said.

The No 17 service is used by about 1,000 passengers-a-week.

"There is a demand for this service and it will be badly missed," said Cllr Drake.

He is raising the question on whether there had been any "serious conversation" between the county council and the district council over the impact of the cuts.

Cllr Drake said he believed the district council's Royston area committee may be looking at ways to save the town service.

The issue was raised during the area committee's meeting in September when members were told that support for the service would cost an estimated £50,000-a-year.

Members suggested combing the No 17 service and the No 16 and adjusting the timetable to ensure a service would continue.

In the end, the committee decided that there should be discussions about the removal of a "vital" service and to see whether alternative funding could be attracted to maintain the service.

Cllr Drake described the axing of the bus service as "a very negative move".

He said: "It's a sad day when such services are lost - and it certainly isn't progress in today's world."

Cllr Drake added that the decision has been taken "not in the best interests" of people.

The county council said reductions in bus services were to be introduced in January "in response to the withdrawal of funding from North Herts District Council".

The cuts will be on town services and rural services in the Royston and Buntingford area.

Cllr Pile said: "The county council regrets that it is having to make these changes, but when one of the funding partners who was meeting 25 per cent of the cost is no longer able to continue there will be some significant effects on the services we can provide.

"Inevitably, these spill over into East Herts as well on cross-district contracts," he said.

Bus service cuts

No 16/17 Monday to Saturdays (Royston town service) service No 17 withdrawn.

No 22 Tuesdays and Saturdays (Buntingford - Hitchin) Withdrawn.

No 23 Tuesday (Royston - Hitchin) Re-routed between Wallington and Letchworth via Cromer, Halls Green and Weston.

No 24 Fridays and Saturdays (Buntingford - Royston) Friday service withdrawn. Wednesday service will only operate over the Sandon to Royston, and at different times to present. There is no service on this route to Buntingford, Throcking or Cottered.

No 24 Wednesday and Fridays (Royston town service) This will only operate on Wednesdays and at different times.

No 26 Thursday (Royston - Bishop's Stortford) Withdrawn.

No 43 Mondays to Saturdays (Chrishall - Royston) The Wednesday shopping service to Royston is withdrawn

No 386 Mondays to Saturdays (Buntingford - Bishop's Stortford) The Thursday shopping to and from Bishop's Stortford is extended from Buntingford to start in Royston, but there will be fewer Thursday journeys in total.

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