Bus services are under threat in Lincs County Council budget review

Lincolnshire County Council has started its review of subsidised bus services - including Gainsborough - in a bid to save more than £2million from its transportation budget.
Gainsborough busesGainsborough buses
Gainsborough buses

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

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

Where services are deemed no longer affordable, officers will work closely with bus operators to minimise the impact on local communities.

Secretary of the Gainsborough Rail and Bus users group (GRaB), Coun Barry Coward, said: “The county council has produced a long list of supported services that are under threat.

“Route100 and the existing town bus routes appear to be unaffected and that is because 75 per cent of bus services are commercially provided by the operators in Lincolnshire.

“However commercial services do reply upon concessions reimbursement for pass holder trips.

“I am not aware that County Council has settled its budget for payment of concessionary fares. This element is vital to the continuation of all bus services in Lincolnshire.”

Coun Richard Davies, executive councillor for highways and transportation, said: “In light of severe reductions to our Government funding, we have to drastically reduce the amount of money we spend on all of our council services.

“We currently expect we need to decrease our annual spending by £170 million over the next four years – leaving us with just 20 per cent of the funding we received four years ago.

“We have been lobbying at the highest level for these cuts to be reconsidered and expect a final settlement from the government this week.

“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.

“75 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.”

A decision on bus subsidies will be announced at the next full council meeting on Friday, February 19.