Suffolk: County’s bus cuts are among worst in country
SUFFOLK: The county will suffer some of the most severe bus service cuts in England, a national review of county council spending plans revealed today.
Suffolk County Council’s current examination of 60 routes has put it in a top 10 of authorities that are slashing transport budgets compiled by campaigning group Better Transport.
County bus services have been under review since autumn last year. The council is pressing ahead with proposals to cut subsidies to rural bus services by more than half and, in its bid to save �2.3million, it may also cut concessionary youth passes.
The move has already seen the closure of the Bury Road park and ride service in Ipswich last Saturday.
The 10 councils in the list are cutting more from their budget and reviewing more routes than the other 17 in England.
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Barry Moore, secretary for the Suffolk branch of Better Transport, said the authority must be more open about what people should expect from bus services in 2011.
Labelling the lack of public information on the future of county transport as “alarming”, he said people are worried and being left to assume the worst.
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“Instead of leaving an axe hanging over the bus services, the council needs to tell people what routes are being reviewed and could be cut,” he said.
“Stopping services in rural areas can change a person’s way of life. And people in these areas will stop using buses if they think they aren’t going to be available anymore.”
Guy McGregor, Suffolk county councillor for transport, said the revised bus service will be announced in the next seven to 14 days.
He added Sunday and market day services are currently being reviewed. “My office is working hard to finalise this and we are signing contracts as we speak,” he said.
“This has been a very difficult process and we have tried to be as transparent as possible, but I can say core services will remain and rural areas will be served.”
He added: “I understand this is a very worrying time for public transport users, but being in negotiations with contractors has required a high level of confidentiality from the council. We are aiming to get the best contracts we possibly can.”
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