County postpones cuts to evening and Sunday bus services

PUBLISHED: 12:05 09 November 2014

The group of protesters outside County hall in Hertford opposing a proposed £1 million cut in bus services

The group of protesters outside County hall in Hertford opposing a proposed £1 million cut in bus services

Archant

Swingeing cuts to bus services have been reined in for the time being - and more public consultation is on the way.

Instead of backing controversial changes to bus services subsidised by the county council, a panel at County Hall this week opted to tweak the proposed cuts and recommend further consultation in January.

A huge outcry in the summer greeted county council proposals to save money on subsidised bus services by axing journeys after 6.30pm from Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday.

Among the 4,500-plus countywide responses to the public consultation, only 30 supported the proposals. The objections included a 500-signature petition opposing the proposal from the New Greens Estate in St Albans.

The panel is now recommending withdrawing funding from subsidised services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturday - an hour later than initially proposed - and while it is still backing the axing of subsidised Sunday services, it proposes exempting services that directly serve hospitals.

If the county council cabinet supports the proposal, the changes will go out to consultation from January to March with a decision in May - General Election month.

Opposition councillors at County Hall have led the resistance to the proposals and have accused the ruling Tory group of proposing to decimate bus services in the county.

St Albans Lib Dem county councillor Sandy Walkington warned that the new set of proposals - which also includes limiting the amount of subsidy per passenger journey - could mean cuts of £1.5 million.

He pointed out that with £700,000 savings made already on the planned bus budget, the panel had missed an opportunity to sit down with operators and plan the way forward.

Critical of the county council’s failure to contact the two hospital trusts about the proposals, Cllr Walkington also called for a new direct link between St Albans and Watford General Hospital which, he said, would “would be incredibly useful and certainly attract a lot of use.”

Labour group leader on the district council, Martin Leach, said the issue regularly came up at ward surgeries which had led to the setting up of the petition in New Greens where the cuts would have a particular impact on the young and the elderly.”

He added: “County Hall seems to have kicked the whole issue into the long grass until after the General Election.”

County highways chief Terry Douris added: “Despite having already made some savings, the funding gap remains an ongoing challenge. The proposals for further consultation will enable us to make informed decisions about how to make the savings needed in the future.”

More news stories

08:20

Official bodies from across the county have branded the St Albans Local Plan (LP) unsound, illegal, and incompliant.

Yesterday, 19:00

Carollers have sung at City station to raise money for St Albans and Welwyn Hatfield women’s refuges.

Yesterday, 16:32

This year’s St Albans pantomime Cinderella opened last week. Matt Adams reviews The Alban Arena show.

Yesterday, 15:51

The face of Govia Thameslink Railway has pledged a return to the service levels which existed before the timetable chaos which kicked off in May.

CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards