Hundreds have their say in second bus cuts consultation –and there’s still time to take part

County councillor for highways Terry Douris
County councillor for highways Terry Douris
  • Just three weeks left to take part in second round of consultation on cuts to council-funded bus services
  • More than 850 people have had their say, though 4,500 responded in first survey
  • Amended proposals include later cut-off times for subsidation

More than 850 people have already responded to the second round of consultation on changes to the county’s bus service.

There are just three weeks left to take part in the survey, which asks for feedback on new proposals to cut subsidies for 119 bus routes serving the area, including several in Dacorum.

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, and from contracted services on Sundays, except for routes which go directly to hospitals until 7.30pm.

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 a whopping 4,500 responses received had reacted positively to the original suggestions, and several petitions and protests were held against the threatened cuts.

But the county council assures bus users that if approved, the new propositions would save approximately £1.471million in a full year from the current base budget of £4.212million, but affect fewer passengers than the original proposals.

The Red Rose 387 bus in Tring town centre is one of the services which could be amended

The Red Rose 387 bus in Tring town centre is one of the services which could be amended

It calculates a total of 760,000 passenger journeys a year would be affected, as opposed to 809,000 passenger journeys a year from the first round of suggestions.

The consultation proposals will affect around 2% of all the passenger journeys in Herts, as the majority are commercially-funded.

Cabinet member for highways Terry Douris, who lives in Hemel Hempstead, said: “Thank you to the 850 people who have taken the time to have their say on the consultation so far.

“We are committed to gathering as much resident and bus-user feedback as possible. We have proposed a later cut off point for contracted services to 7.30pm rather than 6.30pm and we will protect services that directly serve hospitals on a Sunday up to 7.30pm.

These current proposals endeavour to minimise the impact on bus users, no decision has been taken on how to proceed and will be subject to rigorous analysis of the consultation feedback we receive

Terry Douris

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

“These current proposals endeavour to minimise the impact on bus users, no decision has been taken on how to proceed and will be subject to rigorous analysis of the consultation feedback we receive.”

The consultation closes in three weeks’ time, on April 10. Findings of the latest survey will be presented Highways and Waste Management Panel in May with a decision by cabinet expected in the same month.

Changes are then due to take effect by September.

To take part or to find out more about the services affected, visit www.hertsdirect.org/busconsult or call 0300 123 4036 to request a paper copy.