Submitted by Kate on Tue, 23/08/2016 – 09:22
Rail & Bus for Herefordshire is calling on all bus passengers, whether regular or occasional users, to take part in the consultation about the future of buses in the county including several cross boundary routes such as the 417 from Ledbury to Worcester and the 490 between Hereford and Ludlow.
The group wants people to send a clear message to the Council that there should be no cuts, neither to the bus network nor to service levels.
Herefordshire Council has just rolled out a consultation review about the future of buses. However, the campaign group says that the survey leads people into saying that they’ll accept cuts and asks them to choose where these should be, for example, all market day buses.
Professor Les Lumsdon, coordinator of the campaign, says:
“Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet took a decision in January 2016 (the mid-term finance strategy) to reduce revenue support for public transport between now and 2020. It has already made a clear decision as to the outcome and now they are asking people where the cuts should be made and when. Is that really consultation?”
The Council is proposing to save £730,000 from the existing small scale budget of £1.4 million. If this is to be realised then social impacts will be high especially for the elderly/disabled. It will also bring negative economic consequences for High Street retailers and young/non car owning persons seeking employment
It is likely that bus services will be removed from several large settlements in the county including Bishop’s Frome, Burghill, Bosbury, Dilwyn, Eardisley, Hoarwithy, Pembridge, Shobdon, Staunton-on-Wye, and Tillington. The Local Transport Plan which sets out strategy for the future points to only four ‘priority’ routes that will be supported…….Hereford to Kington, Ledbury, Leominster, and Ross-on-Wye. It could all happen from September 2017 onwards.
Rail & Bus for Herefordshire is calling on people not to be fooled by the consultation survey and send a message to the Council that the bus network and service level is at its lowest level now…there should be no more cuts. Professor Lumsdon comments:
“Our hope is that the Herefordshire Council Cabinet will take a fresh look at this following the review because buses are so vital for journeys to school, work and the shops. Otherwise, we fear that the cuts will be draconian and have high impact on many peoples’ lives and what for…in order to save such a small element of the overall budget.”
To access the Bus Service Review, and make your views known, click here: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/busreview2016
In the 1985 Transport Act Parliament set down duty for local authorities to support a public transport network over and above commercial routes as appropriate to the requirements of the area.