Decision this week on bus subsidy cuts

Bus station Spalding
Bus station Spalding
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Lincolnshire County Council will this week announce its plans for cutting the bus subsidies budget.

At a full council meeting in County Hall on Friday, councillors will decide whether or not to approve a proposal to cut £2 million from the transport subsidies budget.

The authority currently supports 148 fixed route bus services in Lincolnshire which costs it £2.8m each year.

As it now needs to find savings of £170million over the next four years, and £42million for the next year alone, it is reviewing these contributions.

Key bus routes in and around Spalding, including school services, are under threat from the cuts.

Among those getting cash support are Spalding into Town, Spalding-King’s Lynn, Spalding-Boston, Spalding-Peterborough and Spalding-Quadring-Donington.

The Spalding and King’s Lynn 505 is a lifeline for people in places like Long Sutton and one of the town’s district councillors, Jack Tyrrell, said cuts will hit countryside communities far harder than those in bigger towns.

He said: “It’s just isolating us. I am not happy about having any subsidies for buses being cut.”

Others receiving funding include: Market Deeping-Spalding, Pointon-Billingborough-Sleaford, Moulton-Boston College, Throckenholt-Long Sutton Peele School, Sutton St Edmunds-Spalding, Tydd St Giles-Spalding, Sutton St James-Spalding, Pinchbeck-Stamford, The Deepings-Stamford, Ryhall-Essendine-Bourne, Stamford-Market Deeping, Long Sutton-Wisbech, Sleaford-Billingborough, Billingborough-Rippingale, Folkingham-Boston and Folkingham-Sleaford.

The proposed cuts have left many residents concerned – and the Labour party at County Hall has handed in a 5,200-signature ‘Save Our Buses’ petition.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, executive councillor for highways and transportation, Coun Richard Davies, said: “As it stands, we are proposing to reduce the subsidy for public transport by £2.2m.

“Subsidising bus routes that commercial operators can’t viably run is not something we are required to do. However, in the past we have chosen to provide some support.

“Seventy-five per cent of bus routes in Lincolnshire will not be affected and we are still committed to supporting our award-winning CallConnect service, which means that everyone will still have access to public transport.

“Until we have had discussions with local bus operators, it is not possible to say which and how many bus services may be affected.”