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Tories Forced to make U-turn on Bus Subsidies

February 23, 2017 4:45 PM

The Tory group on Leicestershire County Council made a surprise announcement at yesterday's budget meeting when they withdrew plans to cut £1.3 million in bus subsidies. This would have led to the discontinuation of any bus that did not currently operate on a purely commercial basis except Park and Ride Services. It is estimated that one third of Leicestershire's buses would have disappeared.

bus uturn

The budget papers released ahead of the meeting included savings of £1.3 million from April 2018. It was understood that this would require the removal of nearly all subsidised bus routes before then resulting in a large part of the network disappearing and areas of the County no longer having access to regular public transport.

Cllr Simon Galton said: "Last week, the Conservative controlled Cabinet dismissed concerns over the reductions to bus subsidies and were committed to going ahead with the cuts. Yesterday they amended their own budget during the course of the meeting. This U-turn shows a welcome change of heart, in part forced by the unpopularity of such a decision."

The plan to cut £1.3 million from the bus subsidies budget has been removed and replaced with a commitment to review the service. A similar review took place several years ago and resulted in large cuts to the budget and a number of bus services replaced with Demand Responsive Transport which is basically a taxi once a week.

"I still have concerns about a new review which no doubt won't take place until after the elections in May. There's still a risk that a number of areas will lose their bus services in the next few years. Services across the County will continue to be cut for as long as the Tories have a majority at County Hall."