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Cabinet to debate future of subsidised bus services in Lichfield and Burntwood

Plans for the future of bus services across Lichfield and Burntwood will be debated by Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet next week.

An eight week public consultation on how best to spend the £1.3million budget for subsidising unprofitable routes saw 2,000 people submit their views.

A report to the Cabinet has now recommended the council continue to subsidise as many journeys as possible. Other options had been to reduce the overall number of routes but pay more to ensure key ones continued.

However, if the plans are approved, the council says it will still need to work with bus operators, community groups and local councils to explore how some journeys that will no longer receive a subsidy could continue from April 2018.

Mark Deaville, Cabinet member for commercial, said: “While the vast majority of bus journeys in Staffordshire are made without any subsidy, some journeys are still costing taxpayers more than £10 every time a passenger gets on board.

“When we need to spend a record £300million on care this year, it is only right that we continue to look closely at how public money is used for bus journeys and the public consultation gave us the chance to find out how people in the county think this can be best spent.

“The option which keeps the most journeys for the lowest subsidy gained the most support of any option and we now want to work with bus operators, local councils and communities to explore how they may want to still support some of the journeys which will no longer be subsidised.”

A final decision will be made by Cabinet on November 15.

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