As we reported yesterday, the Conservatives have unveiled plans to introduce even more biting bus cuts in Herts, totalling £1.5m.
As was widely reported, earlier in the year the Conservatives had proposed to cut all county supported bus services after 6.30pm in the evening and all services on a Sunday - affecting 58 routes and cutting 809,000 passenger trips. On Tuesday they massively increased the amount of cuts planned.
Local people expected the Conservatives to listen to the views of residents in the official consultation on bus changes, which showed just 30 people out of 4548 supported these cuts, and the 12,000 signatures from across the county that signed petitions against them. This move by the Tories is a slap across the face to them.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst Said “I, and my fellow Lib Dem councillors, were shocked when our plan to stop the bus cuts was voted down by the Conservatives, who instead voted to cut another £1.5m from the bus budget. They have now voted a plan through for a further expensive consultation to cut all services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, all services on Sunday except for those that serve hospitals up to 7.30pm, and cut the bus subsidy for all other routes, which could mean some 29 bus route being cut totally!”
“There is no need to do this, as the stated aim of these cuts was to ‘save around £700,000 from the bus budget in 2015/16’. In fact, due to underspends and bus grants from government, there is already an expected saving of £753,000 this year and for the next two years as well.”
“So the Tories at County Hall are now planning to reduce the spending on buses by £2.2m out of the current budget of £3.8m - some 58%. It is no good them using the excuse they need to make savings - they already have from this budget! And where is the 58% cut in their press and publicity? There is none!”
Herts Tories showed they are heartless and want to cut the only means of transport for tens of thousands of residents, whether to get to work, hospital, shopping or just going out. This will leave tens of thousands of people without access to public transport when they need it.
We cannot allow this cull of our public transport service to happen and will be fighting from now until next May, when the final decision is made, to stop this. We urge residents to respond to the consultation, it comes out in January, and sign our petition.
Our Tory MP has remained silent on this and not written one letter to the county about these cuts – he doesn’t care.