The number of passenger journeys to be affected by proposed cuts to bus services in the county is more than four times the figure originally suggested, it has been revealed.
Herts County Council has apologised after it incorrectly reported 200,000 passenger journeys would be hit by new proposals to withdraw all funding to services that run after 6.30pm daily and any that run on a Sunday.
However, the figure is in fact 809,300 journeys, which equates to 2.4% of the total passenger journeys in the county each year.
The authority is seeking the public’s views on how much financial support it provides to 119 bus services in the county – which are given funding help as they are not commercially viable due to limited demand – as part of efforts to save between £700,000 and £887,000 from the £3.8 million bus budget.
A council spokesman explained that with a total of 33.7 million passenger journeys in the county every year, monitoring these numbers is difficult and relies on estimations.
Cabinet member for highways Terry Douris said: “These new figures have just come to light and I apologise for the concerns residents will have about the effect of these proposed changes.
“The savings that could be made from the proposal has not changed and the list of affected services remains as it does in the consultation document.
“I would like to stress that this is a consultation and no decisions have been taken. We will consider all the views and feedback from residents before making any decisions.”
The county’s Liberal Democrat party has hit out at the error, suggesting the leading Conservative party in Herts is ‘misleading people’.
Lib Dem group leader and highways spokesman Stephen Giles-Medhurst said: “We need a massive response with the petition and consultation to reject these unfair cuts that hit the least able and mobile in our community.”
The deadline for responses is Wednesday, October 8.
The majority of bus services in Herts are operated commercially by bus operators and will not be affected by the proposals or public consultation.
Children entitled to free travel to and from school will continue to be provided with transport and the authority says it will continue to support concessionary fares for young and older people.