Bus services face £3.8m Sunday and evening cuts

Cost-cutter: Some bus services could lose subsidies
Cost-cutter: Some bus services could lose subsidies
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Evening and Sunday bus services across Lancashire could lose their subsidies in a huge cost-cutting exercise.

The county council, which spends £8m a year supporting unprofitable routes, plans to concentrate funding on daytime services in an attempt to save £3.8m over two years.

The public are being asked for their views on the proposal to withdraw subsidies from out-of-hours services as part of the authority’s 2014 budget consultation process.

County Hall chiefs say the plan is just one idea to meet savings of £300m being demanded by central government over the next four years.

But, on the flip side, the council says it plans to invest a further £500,000 in Dial-a-ride services to ensure community transport providers have the capacity to cater for those most in need.

Four-fifths of bus services in Lancashire are run by private companies on a commercial basis because they are profitable. The remaining 20% are not commercially viable and are currently subsidised to the tune of around £8m from the county council coffers each year.

Officers say the proposal would see subsides withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services from 18 May 2014. Subsidies would continue to 103 bus services which operate during the day, but each would be reviewed on a case by case basis when its current contract expires to ensure it remains sustainable.

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We would never have chosen to be in this financial situation, but we have to find ways to drastically reduce our budget. Our first priority is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of society, but to achieve this we have to look at everything we do.”