Monday, 26 March 2012

Bus Subsidies - What You May Like To Know

Around 80 per cent of public transport in Cambridgeshire is run commercially with the remaining 20 per cent being subsidised by the County Council, at a cost of around £2.7 million per year. Work is already underway with operators to see if changes to routes and timetables could make some marginal subsidised journeys commercially viable and therefore reduce this financial commitment.

The Council has also reviewed the way subsidies are currently paid and has started a phased three year change programme. Over the next three years the Council will be transforming how these subsidised services are delivered, resulting in an annual investment of £1.5 million.

Before any subsidy is removed it is planned to carry out consultation to find out people's public transport needs. Everyone will be invited to contribute and work together to find the best and most cost effective way of meeting that need.

The results will vary across the County and one size will not fit all. Solutions may include local operators, smaller vehicles, links to commercial hubs, such as the Busway or Park and Ride as well as direct routes to certain destinations and flexible dial a ride type services. If there is enough demand it could lead to more travel opportunities, not less. If the best solution to deliver an essential service is to retain the current form of subsidy, then that will still be an option.

The new initiatives will be rolled out under the banner of Cambridgeshire Future Transport starting from April 2012. Subsidised services have been grouped into 13 geographical areas which have transport links within them and these areas will be reviewed in three tranches over the next three years. This is so that the services can be looked at as a whole and alternatives explored.

More information will be released and public engagement will be carried out as each phase of reducing the subsidy starts. For more information contact Cambridgeshire County Council Passenger Transport Service.