Kent County Council rethinks £2.25m bus cuts plan

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Kent County Council has decided against scrapping dozens of bus services after more than 17,000 people signed a petition against the plans, Kent Live reported – the publication which launched the petition.

Before Christmas, Kent County Council drew up a list of bus services which may be under threat. The list has now been withdrawn, but a council spokesman confirmed that some little-used services may have to be funded in a different way.

Councillors have opted to reduce the savings they need to make subsidising bus travel from £2.25m to £0.45m. Council Leader Paul Carter said he was ‘passionate about not isolating people in rural communities’ and although savings would now need to be made, the emphasis would be on ‘conversation and not consultation.’

Kent County Council said it had set aside a budget of £500,000 to speak to people, district and parish councils about bus services. Councillors also pledged to continue a £8.7m subsidy through the Young Persons Travel Pass.

A council spokesperson told CBW: “We believe there are smarter, more responsive ways to deliver these services. We intend to arrange a whole series of big conversations with parish councils and communities on how this can be delivered. The proposed budget sees an additional investment of £500,000 to fulfil these ambitions.”