Consultation to launch after Hertfordshire bus service changes agreed

County Hall, in Hertford

County Hall, in Hertford - Credit: Archant

A new consultation on the future of Hertfordshire’s bus services will take place at the start of next year after county councillors agreed to proposed changes yesterday.

Terry Douris, executive member for HCC's highways and waste management branch

Terry Douris, executive member for HCC's highways and waste management branch - Credit: Archant

Herts County Council’s cabinet agreed to hold another 12-week consultation in January after it was decided to withdraw funding from some evening and weekend bus services across the county.

The changes suggested will see funding withdrawn from services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturdays, while Sunday buses will also lose their funding unless they go to and from hospitals.

It was initially proposed bus services should stop at 6.30pm in the evenings in a previous consultation, which almost 4,600 people completed questionnaires commenting on the plans. Of those, 85 per cent use the bus.

Petitions opposing the proposals also gathered about 13,000 signatures.

County Hall subsidises a number of bus companies to provide services which are not used enough to make them commercially viable, and the proposed changes would save the council around £700,000 a year.

A spokesman said only two per cent of all passenger journeys in Hertfordshire will be affected.

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Councillor Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways and waste management, said: “Based on the feedback we received during the first consultation, the revised options we are now proposing as part of a new consultation include a later cut off point for subsidised services, protection where possible for routes that directly serve hospitals and establishing a value for money approach when supporting local bus services.”

Over the last four years £150 million of savings have been made across the county council.

Further reductions of the same size need to be made over the next fours years after a reduction of national funding.