Bus petitions against cuts to services affecting users in Royston fail to halt County Hall axe

The cuts were approved at the meeting.

The cuts were approved at the meeting. - Credit: Archant

Controversial cuts to bus services which campaigners say will have a devastating impact on passengers in North Herts have been approved.

Members of Herts County Council approved the decision to cut the amount paid to bus companies each year to run certain services by £662,000 by 42 votes to 30 at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

This means from September the county council will no longer subsidise routes running after 7.30pm from Monday to Saturday and on Sundays unless they directly serve hospitals in which case they will be funded up to 7.30pm.

“I think it was inevitable,” said Save Our Buses campaigner Terry Figg, a campaigner with Save Our Buses.

“The council obviously wasn’t going to change its mind and now the consequences are going to be quite dire for bus users.”

Before passing the proposals, County Hall held two consultations and received thousands of comments The authority said these were taken into consideration before a decision was made, something Mr Figg disputes.

“People rejected these cuts in their thousands but they didn’t listen,” he said. “We’ll carry on campaigning against them and expect a lot more reaction from people when they are introduced in September.”

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In total 11 petitions opposing the cuts were launched and signed by more than 9,000 people.

All the Lib Dem and Labour councillors voted against the motion at the meeting but were outnumbered by the Conservative majority.

County councillor Sharon Taylor is Labour’s spokesman on transport in Herts and had her own petition against the plans.

She said: “It will really severely affect people. They have not listened at all to the consultations. There was a very strong response from people in Herts but they just ploughed ahead and completely ignored them.”

A council spokesman said it was a necessary saving and will only affect two per cent of routes.

To see a full list of the all routes affected visit www.royston-crow.co.uk.