'˜Bonfire of buses' fears over cuts

Local independent councillor Adam Zerny has slammed Central Bedfordshire Council for its plans to cut bus services in Potton, Sandy and Biggleswade.

Friday, 29th April 2016, 10:36 am
Updated Friday, 29th April 2016, 11:39 am

The council last week launched a consultation offering members of the public the chance to comment on the local bus service but has acknowledged that, if approved, operators will no longer be subsidised to provide the services they currently offer.

For example, the number of buses between Potton and Sandy and Biggleswasde on the 188 route from Monday to Friday could drop from seven to four per day and on the 190 route from eight to four. The council stated if a bus operator wanted, they could run more than four services but acknowledged a provider would only do so if they felt it commercially viable.

The council also acknowledged the bus route past the RSPB would no longer be covered.

Cllr Zerny said “This is a bonfire of the bus services. The council wants to cut its spend and instead of looking at its own running costs is proposing to cut public services just months after a 4% Council Tax increase. For the council to cut half the bus services to and from Potton is breathtaking arrogance.

“I urge members of the public to have their say and embarrass the council into a rethink.”

Announcing the consulation Cllr Brian Spurr, executive member for community services at central Beds Council said: “We are encouraging as many people as possible to have their say on potential changes to bus services in Central Bedfordshire.

“We need to look at the demand for bus services. If a service is poorly used then it is not fair for the council, therefore the tax payer, to pay for it when other solutions might be possible.”

The council is also looking to make changes to concessionary fares such as changing the times when people can use their bus passes.

This will impact on pensioners and others who may not be able to use the bus passes until after 9.30am under the new proposals.

>Have your say online by visiting www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or pick up a copy of the consultation from your local library.