Bus services under threat as council looks to save on £1 million subsidy
A number of bus services could be under threat as Bath and North East Somerset Council looks at the most effective way of spending the £1-million-a-year it costs to subsidise them.
The local authority says many of the routes it funds are poorly used and are not good value for money, so has drawn up an "at risk" list of those that might end up losing financial support.
This could mean reducing the frequency of the 6 and 7 service in Larkhall and Fairfield Park and of the 1 service in Combe Down, as well as reviewing some buses serving Saltford and Keynsham.
A public consultation is under way and passengers have until next Wednesday to give their views and put forward reasons why certain services are still needed.
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A statement from B&NES said: "The council currently spends around £1 million per annum on supported bus services, but faces competing pressures for this funding if services are to be maintained or improved.
"In 2013/14 additional costs will be incurred if the council continues to upgrade services and wishes to maintain the half-hourly frequencies on two core bus service corridors in Bath. Analysis of the current provision of supported bus services has identified some that are not well-used, some that offer relatively poor value for money, and some for which there are alternatives on other bus or train services."
Pamela Galloway, who is part of a group which has been campaigning for a number of years to protect the 6 and 7 services, said it was frustrating to be fighting the same battle once again.
She said: "We will be responding to the consultation as a group and we have also been encouraging residents who use the services to get involved too.
"It is an extremely well-used service, but for some reason it still needs to be subsidised. It could be because there is a high proportion of users who are bus pass holders, so maybe it doesn't bring in enough money."
Councillor Tim Warren (Con, Mendip) the opposition's spokesman for transport, said: "Ending or reducing any bus service could have a major impact on these bus users, particular if there are no decent alternatives, and so any decision should not be taken lightly."
The responses to the public consultation will be considered at a cabinet meeting in February.
To find out more about the proposals and to take part in the consultation go to http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/supportedbusconsultation.
You can get paper copies of the consultation details by ringing Richard Smith on 01225 477604.