RESIDENTS URGED TO HAVE THEIR SAY
RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on plans to scrap bus routes serving rural villages in the Moorlands.
Staffordshire County Council is keen to reduce subsidies provided to operators in a bid to cut costs.
But many of the options they’ve put forward would result in the loss of services.
The council’s consultation exercise ends on Sunday and people are being encouraged to put forward views before it’s too late.
The plans have attracted criticism from civic leaders in the area and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council backed a campaign by Ipstones parish councillor Linda Malyon.
It called on the county to extend the consultation period for a further six months and make no decisions until an impact study has been carried out.
Cllr Malyon claimed last week the scrapping of a route from Leek to Cheadle would leave villagers ‘isolated and vulnerable’.
“People rely on the bus service which, for some, is their only way of getting into a town,” she said.
“Many will be left isolated and alone if these services are cut.
“How can the district council put forward a sustainable Local Development Framework when there will be no bus services to the village?”
But Mark Deaville, county council cabinet member with overall responsibility for transport, said: “Although most bus journeys in Staffordshire are made without any subsidy from the county council, the eight per cent we do fund can cost taxpayers more than £10 a passenger journey.
“With the need to protect statutory council services and with less money to go around, it’s more important than ever that we make the best use of public money and that’s why we have put together four options all of which could be possible with the £1.3m subsidy pot now available.
“This is taxpayers money so whether people use the bus or not, we want as many people as possible to have their say about how this budget should be spent.”
The consultation looks at four options after considering the amount of subsidy, number of passengers, travel for education employment and health.
Option 1: The council’s preferred option as it maintains the greatest number of journeys and features the lowest subsidy per passenger trip at £1.60. There would be no dial-a-ride services.
Option 2: Maintains fewer bus journeys, but maintains Staffordshire Moorlands Connect. These dial-a-ride services would be subsidised at £8.20 per passenger trip.
Option 3: Protects even fewer supported local bus services, but keeps all four existing dial-a-ride services, except Border Car, at an £8.80 subsidy per trip.
Option 4: Provides a county-wide network of dial-a-ride services at an average cost of £10 per passenger journey. No other bus journeys will be subsidised.
The council will make its final decision in the autumn with changes implemented in April, 2018.
Have your say by going to www.staffordshire.gov.uk/busreview
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