Bus cuts cause 'suffering'

PUBLISHED: 14:54 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

THE NO 17 TOWN BUS SERVICE IN ROYSTON IS BEING CANCELLED.

THE NO 17 TOWN BUS SERVICE IN ROYSTON IS BEING CANCELLED.

CUTS to bus services meant that Royston suffered more than expected. The admission comes in a report from Herts County Council on the work of the passenger transport expenditure topic group. The group was looking at a range of public transport issues wh

CUTS to bus services meant that Royston "suffered" more than expected.

The admission comes in a report from Herts County Council on the work of the passenger transport expenditure topic group.

The group was looking at a range of public transport issues which included North Herts District Council's decision to end giving a subsidy towards bus services.

In evidence given to the group, North Herts District Council admitted that Royston "suffered more than the district council would have liked" when the funding was withdrawn.

The end of the subsidy saw cuts to the Royston town centre bus service.

The district council said it appeared that commercial operators were dropping routes on the grounds of viability and then expecting these to be subsidised.

"The district council was aware that certain routes would need to be cut as a withdrawal of funding," said the report.

There was also the belief that cross-border services were the least likely to be removed.

The district council, said the report, came to the conclusion that it was "getting less value for money".

It withdrew its £130,000 subsidy for bus services during last year's round of Budget discussions.

The Royston No17 town service was receiving a subsidy of £50,000 a year.

Although 25 per cent of bus service subsidy is provided by 10 district councils across Herts the county council does not have in place legal arrangements.

And the topic group said it was "perturbed" to learn that there were a number of other district councils which were "wavering in their support of the existing arrangement".

The end of district council subsidy payments would leave a budget shortfall of £1.23 million which would result in "a significant number of service reductions".

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