Major cuts planned for bus services
CUTS worth up to �440,000 need to be made to the bus services supported by North Somerset Council.
The unitary authority has announced it needs to save up to 40 per cent of the �1.1million it currently spends on subsidising bus routes every year.
Now, residents are being asked for their opinion on which routes they think the authority should continue supporting as part of a survey, which has an extended, August 12 deadline.
North Somerset Council came under fire last week when it was discovered by parish and town councillors that the public consultation which started on July 13 was due to end on July 29, giving residents only two weeks to comment.
Clevedon Town Council received a letter about the consultation on July 27, just two days before the initial deadline for public comments.
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At the town council’s transport and highways committee meeting on July 27, Councillor David Shopland said: “We are appalled at the lack of time for consultation. The district council wants bringing to book on this.”
Residents now have until August 12 to say which local bus services they want the council to continue supporting.
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Parish councils, bus operators and other stakeholders, such as disabled groups, have until September to comment.
At this stage the survey, which is available online at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/busrev or in libraries, is aimed at gathering general information, rather than the details of specific services. The results will be published on December 2.
Further consultation will take place once proposals for specific services are drawn up.
Services given financial support by North Somerset Council include the 657 Clevedon to Bristol, 660 Congresbury to Portishead, 692 Nailsea to Portishead, 362 Bristol to Clevedon, 354 Nailsea to Bristol, 800 Clevedon town service and the 358/359 Portishead to Bristol service.
Some are subsidised only during evenings or on Sundays and bank holidays.
North Somerset Council’s executive member for transport Elfan Ap Rees said: “We have no fixed views about how the services will run in the future, other than knowing that we have to make savings.
“We see subsidised buses going by during the day with few or no passengers aboard and this is clearly not sustainable.
“We need to find smarter ways, for example using voluntary transport organisations and amalgamating services if possible, to avoid stopping uneconomic services altogether.”
* Let us know your opinion on North Somerset’s bus services by voting in our poll or leaving a comment below.