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Changes to bus subsidies in Lichfield and Burntwood are approved by councillors

Changes to bus subsidies in Lichfield and Burntwood have been approved.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet says the option chosen after a public consultation would “safeguard most journeys”.

The authority has also agreed to work with bus operators, district and borough councils, parish councils and local community groups to explore options for supporting some of the journeys which will no longer be funded by the authority from April 2018.

Cllr Mark Deaville said 96% of journeys would still be able to be made after the changes are implemented: “While the vast majority of bus journeys in Staffordshire are made without any subsidy from the county council, some journeys are still costing taxpayers more than £10 every time someone gets on board and this is certainly not the best use of the public purse.

“Like all councils we do have to live within our means and when we need to spend a record £300m on care this year alone, it is important that we work with the budget we have available.

“The option we have chosen means the most trips can still be made at the lowest average cost to taxpayers.

However, the changes have been criticised by the Labour opposition group at Staffordshire County Council, with leader Cllr Sue Woodward warning some residents faced isolation thanks to the move.

“I’m dismayed that the Cabinet has failed to recognise the impacts of their proposals on communities across Staffordshire and on bus passengers,” she said. “Labour councillors argued that the cuts would have a serious impact on bus users, particularly older people who need buses to maintain their independence and on young people accessing jobs, education and leisure opportunities.

“We believe it will prove to be a false economy, leaving people isolated in their homes.”

But Cllr Deaville said he hoped other organisations would step in to fill the breach for those journeys that would no longer be supported.

“In cases where journeys will no longer be subsidised, such as the Dial-A-Ride, we want to work with local bus operators, local councils and communities to see which are the most important to them and look at helping them explore other options for funding,” he said.

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2 Comments

  1. Ann

    16th November, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    What do they care! They don’t have to use buses.

  2. Darryl Godden

    20th November, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    As per my other comment on brown bins, what do the council do? Council Tax goes up, sneakily below the vote triggering threshold, yet fewer and fewer services.

    Perhaps we should do away with the council, give the money directly to Voyage Care for the OAPs and contract a company to look after the roads and bins.

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