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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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5 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.

  3. Mark J Fleming

    25th April, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The loss of the no. 10 bus service to Burntwood & Chasetown during the evenings means that I can no longer use public transport to travel to and from Birmingham to work in the evenings. It is a ridiculous situation as I can travel into Walsall and then on to Birmingham using the bus in the afternoon but cannot return to Chasetown at night. Indeed, I only discovered this when I had to walk back from Brownhills to Chasetown this week as I was not aware of the changes to the service until I arrived in Walsall on my return journey. How negligent and irresponsible to isolate the Burntwood area at night for the sake of a just a few more miles of bus route. We are encouraged to use public transport, and I often need to do so, but then we are denied access to it. There are others I know who live in the Burntwood area whom this has similarly affected and now prevents them from using the no. 10 bus during the evenings. This decision to remove the service is both punitive and pathetic. Shame on you Staffordshire County Council!

  4. Darryl

    26th April, 2018 at 8:12 am

    This popped back into the timeline due to Mark’s comment.

    Anecdotal, but here’s my recent experience.

    I caught the bus with my 3 year old from the stop just past the recycling centre. Unlike 99% of the people waiting at the stop and as it transpires, on the bus, we didn’t have a free bus pass. It seems the driver had never seen a £5 or perhaps a momentary brain-fart caused him to think I was trying to hand him a dog turd, because the disdain was palpable as I tried to pay for our fare.

    ‘I don’t have any change,’ he gruffly stated. Being some time since I had ever tried to ride on a bus, I was at a loss, ‘can we not get on then?’ ‘You can get on, you’ll have to have a credit note won’t you.’ Apparently I will, the exchange was made and we were on our way.

    Clutching my shiny £1.30 (yes £3.70 to travel less than a mile) credit note in the hand I attempted to hold onto the handrail and keep hold of my little girl, who’s feet don’t touch the floor, we bounced and jerked our way to the bus station, coming to such an abrupt stop an old lady’s walker shot from her grasp and she had to be secured by a slightly younger (70+) man, the walker being stopped by a valiant foot from another retired Indiana Jones.

    We alighted and I handed my voucher to a 1% cash payer waiting at the bus stop.

    Pleasant, it was not.

  5. Nodge

    26th April, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Buses will go the way of the bus user Darryl, they will shuffle off this mortal coil as the last of the bus pass greys pass away in the next 20 years. Your daughter will recall to her children about these old fashioned diesel-spewers their silly old Grandad took her on once, and he tried to use cash of all things! Silly Gramps, we moved to digital currency years ago, they’ll chuckle :)