Bus users called upon again as cut survey reopens

The Red Rose 387 bus in Tring town centre is one of those affected by the potential cuts
The Red Rose 387 bus in Tring town centre is one of those affected by the potential cuts

A second round of public consultation on controversial plans to cut funding for bus services around Herts has launched this week.

Herts County Council relaunched a scheme of public feedback on proposals to withdraw funding to 119 subsidised bus routes serving the area, including several in Dacorum.

Cllr Terry Douris

Cllr Terry Douris

Three proposals for possible changes are being put to bus users around the county, including plans to withdraw funding from services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturdays.

The suggestions have been revised from harsher proposals prior to the first consultation – reviewed based on the feedback received during 2014’s 12-week survey period.

At the time, just 30 of the 4,500 responses received had reacted positively to the suggestions.

County cabinet member for Highways Terry Douris, who lives in Hemel Hempstead, said: “We are committed to engaging with as many residents and stakeholders as possible.

“We are proposing a later cut off point for contracted services to 7.30pm rather than 6.30pm and will protect services that directly serve hospitals on a Sunday up to 7.30pm.

“We have also listened to residents’ comments about the amount of money we give to individual passenger journeys and are seeking to establish a clear, value for money approach by setting a limit on the amount of subsidy we provide to individual journeys.”

According to the authority, Herts County Council has made savings of £150million over the last four years but needs to save a similar amount over the next four years.

The earlier proposals saw petitions with thousands of signatures handed in to the county council, as well as protests by campaign groups, including the county 38 Degrees group, on the steps of County Hall as the initial feedback was debated by councillors.

This resulted in the second survey round being approved.

Results from the second round of consultation will be reported to the Herts County Council panel in May, with a decision expected by cabinet in the same month.

Any changes will take effect from September.

The consultation closes on April 10 – take part by visiting www.hertsdirect.org/busconsult, or call 0300 123 4046 to request a paper copy.