18 January 2018
The Green Party has urged the county council to rethink its “callous and outrageous” proposal to cut £500,000 from the subsidies it provides for bus services.
Subsidies are used to support bus services that are not commercially viable, so that a service can be maintained in rural areas that would otherwise have no public transport. The council’s consultation on this proposal received 1,184 responses, with the overwhelming majority opposing the cuts. Many wrote of the “lifeline” rural buses provide, and the major impact it would have on their lives if these services were removed.
Councillor Denise Carlo, who represents the Green Party on Norwich City Council, said: “This is a callous and outrageous assault on the freedom and independence of rural bus users, and yet another awful proposal to add to the list of disastrous transport policies at County Hall.
“£500,000 is not a lot of money in the context of the county council’s spending. They’ve just raided other budgets to find another £20 million for the NDR overspend, yet they can’t find a tiny fraction of that to keep rural bus services running.
“The many responses to the consultation were united in their view that this is a dreadful proposal – people spoke of feeling trapped and isolated, fearing losing their jobs, or saying they would be forced to buy a car. On every single one of the council’s aims – on health and wellbeing, on climate change and air quality, and on economic productivity – this proposal will cost many times more than the paltry saving it claims to deliver.
“I urge the committee in the strongest possible terms to reject these cuts and stand up for the people they were elected to represent.”
The county council’s Environment, Development and Transport committee will meet on Friday to discuss the 2018-19 budget, including plans to cut spending on road maintenance and gritting as well as buses.