Bus service funding cuts to hit St Albans passengers

The cuts were approved at the meeting.

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

Unpopular bus service cuts are to go ahead after pleas to stop over £1 million being slashed from subsidised services were dismissed yesterday (Tuesday).

At a full Herts county council (HCC) meeting on May 19, councillors agreed to push ahead with a proposal to cut funding to contracted bus services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, and the authority will no longer pay for services on a Sunday except routes that directly serve hospitals up until 7.30pm.

It said that the withdrawal would save taxpayers £1.47 million.

But the decision was made despite condemnation by NHS trusts, 11 petitions with 9,000 signatures and concerns of bus users, including those who are disabled or elderly. A number of bus routes in St Albans will be affected.

Thousands of people responded to two public consultations, with many opposed to the proposal to withdraw HCC funding from services after 7.30pm.

Voicing safety concerns, one said: “These are the very times, especially in the winter when it is cold and dark, it is difficult or dangerous for the young and elderly to have to walk.”

Another simply asked: “Life doesn’t stop at 7.30pm so why should the buses?”

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The authority directly funds about 11 per cent of all passenger journeys made in Herts each year with the remainder provided by bus companies on a commercial basis.