County council reassures residents over potential bus service cuts

A bus stop at St Mary's Way in MeltonA bus stop at St Mary's Way in Melton
A bus stop at St Mary's Way in Melton
The county council has reassured residents in the Melton area who are concerned about the potential loss of their bus service that they will be fully consulted before any decisions are made.

The authority is reviewing the cost-effectiveness of routes across Leicestershire including some key services in the Melton area and the issue will be discussed by cabinet tomorrow (Friday).

The council also said it would seek comments from local operators after Centrebus said yesterday it was disappointed to hear about the proposed review through press reports rather than being informed first by the council.

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Those services under review in the Melton area include some town routes and buses taking passengers to and from towns and villages including Loughborough, Grantham, Syston, Bottesford and Stathern.

Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re aware there will be concern among operators so we’ll be talking to them and would very much welcome their views on how we can make savings to help us maintain as many services as possible for our communities.

“While our 26 subsidised bus services make up less than 10 per cent of the county’s bus network, their costs range from £40,000 to more than £200,000 a year per service with average passenger subsidies of between £8 and £22 per journey made, at a time when the council is facing huge financial pressures.

“This could mean that low levels of patronage when set against the cost of the subsidy will make some services unsustainable and the situation facing local authorities and bus operators will be even more challenging if Government support funding, which has been in place through the pandemic and ends in March, doesn’t continue. We’re pressing our local MPs to urgently take up this matter.

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“However I want to make it absolutely clear that no decisions have been made yet about any service subsidy. Should any communities be affected by the outcomes of a service review, we’ll be closely engaging in these areas, but I want to assure residents that, whatever the outcome of the reviews, they will not be left without access to essential services such as food shopping and healthcare.”