Revised proposals to save money on subsidised bus services in East Sussex go before county council leaders on Tuesday, December 16.
The effect would be to save taxpayers £1.88m while continuing to run 90 out of 101 subsidised services and daily fares for adults and children could increase by up to 30 per cent.
Proposals have changed in response to feedback from a public consultation held earlier this year.
There were 3,605 responses during the 12-week consultation, including 13 petitions and extensive discussions with bus operators and other interested groups and individuals.
Bus operators have since indicated they are willing to run 23 services as commercial routes. One of the routes that could be commercialised is the Uckfield to East Grinstead, Monday to Friday, service run by Compass Travel.
The consultation was based on a set of priorities which included aiming to sensure that children and young people could travel to school or college and that residents could get to work in key centres during peak times and access essential services on at least two days a week.
The proposed revisions, if agreed, would mean that around 91 per cent of passengers would be unaffected and 95 per cent would stil have access to a six-day-a-week service. Off-peak services woudl continue to run but with a reduced frequency.
Rupert Clubb, county council director of communities, economy and transport, said: “The consultation has allowed us to hear first-hand how any changes to the supported bus network would impact on those who rely on services.
“It has given the council and bus operators the opportunity to reassess passenger numbers and several operators believe parts of some services can run commercially. We welcome their decision as this takes some of the burden off the county council and the taxpayer.”
The proposed changes would reduce the average cost of subsidised journeys to the council from 81p per passenger to 59p.
As part of the proposals, cabinet will also be asked to consider an increase in adult and child fares across the supported bus network.
Subject to discussions with bus operators, daily fares would increase by up to 30 per cent and the cost of a weekly ticket on a supported bus would increase by up to £3.
The revised proposals will be considered by East Sussex County Council’s cabinet along with a proposal made by full council rejecting all changes to subsidised bus routes.
The decision will be taken by cabinet.
One of the services that could be commercialised is the Uckfield to East Grinstead Monday to Friday service run by Compass Travel. Read too: Reprieve for evening bus service through Uckfield.
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