Hundreds add their names to calls to protect Herts bus services from further cuts in Stevenage and Hitchin signing sessions
- Credit: Archant
Campaigners who fear further cuts to bus services across Herts gathered hundreds of signatures on Saturday as they hosted signing sessions in Stevenage and Hitchin
The Save Our Buses teams set out their stalls to encourage people to write to their MPs, asking them to put pressure on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to maintain funding for buses when he makes his autumn statement to Parliament on Wednesday.
The group says that the budget cuts made by Herts County Council have already seriously reduced services and any further cuts in financial support will make it much harder for bus operators to maintain regular services at affordable fares.
Campaigner Alina Congreve said: “Already people in Herts are struggling to travel to work and college because of poor and sometimes now discontinued bus services.
“Further cuts will seriously impact on the economic viability of many towns with both shops and leisure busineses which have already been affected.”
The letters to MPs ask them to lobby the chancellor to maintain funding levels for the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which is paid to bus operators based on their annual fuel consumption, but is now under threat.
Save Our Buses says that if the government cuts the BSOG grant it will lead to a three per cent rise in fares and a further seven per cent drop in service levels, leading to fewer bus passengers, more private car journeys, more congestion and increased pollution.
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Alina said: “If our MPs are really interested in the economic prospects of Hertfordshire towns they will lobby the chancellor to keep the BSOG grant.
“If they don’t, high street shops all over the county will suffer as a result of reduced access to town centres. People will find it harder to get to work, jobs will go, and there will be greater pressure on our congested roads as some bus users are forced to use cars instead of buses.”