Thursday, 28 July 2011

Councillors challenge need for bus service cuts

The proposal to slash funding of concessionary bus fares in Cornwall was discussed at yesterday’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee.

The Cabinet Member for Transportation, Graeme Hicks, told members that cuts of over £2 million needed to be made. We also had representations from bus companies that the cut would lead to the loss of numerous services and less regular buses.

I was amazed that council officers were telling us that they were still “information gathering” but were clearly in talks with the bus companies about the percentage of concessionary fares that would be paid by the Council. It was clear that there seemed to be a lack of understanding of the implications of such cuts.

Members spoke out about the importance of Cornwall’s bus network, some called for the “shortfall” to be met from reserves, while others rightly railed against the lack of detail put in front of them.

I suggested that a proper “Inquiry Day” be held, with the bus operators, passengers and interested parties invited to attend to look at the detail more closely. This was agreed by members present.

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