Bus services giving incredible poor value’

PUBLISHED: 11:29 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:55 12 May 2010

BUS operators are set to lose £152,000 which has been spent on subsiding routes. The end of the subsidy is one of the cuts being considered in North Herts District Council s budget for next year. And transport portfolio holder Cllr Richard Thake has descr

BUS operators are set to lose £152,000 which has been spent on subsiding routes.

The end of the subsidy is one of the cuts being considered in North Herts District Council's budget for next year.

And transport portfolio holder Cllr Richard Thake has described the public service as giving "incredible poor value".

Last year the district council earmarked £152,110 to pay towards subsidised bus routes: including those serving Royston.

The likely impact of scrapping the subsidy would be a reduction in the Royston town service and a cut to rural services.

Cllr Thake said operators had failed to make routes "commercially viable" and the cost in subsidy had become an "every increasing burden" on the council.

He said that when bus companies were privatised there was the hope that operators would compete with each other.

This, he said, had not happened and the operators now appeared to running a cartel.

As a council we have little or no power to control what they are doing. We have to draw a line somewhere," he said. "As hard as it is we have to balance the budget," said Cllr Thake.

"It may be the only way to bring the operators to heel."

He added that Herts County Council was looking at the cost of its subsidy to bus companies.

Committee vice chairman Cllr Howard Marshall said: "The basic fact is that this council has to save £1 million.

"We have got to make some serious savings and realistically we are looking for the best option.

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