Leicester supported bus network faces £200,000 cut

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Subsidised bus services in Leicester are being revamped as the council aims to cut funding by £200,000. Service 10/11 inner ring and service 36 will cease and 10 other routes will either be amended, replaced by a dial-a-ride service or left untouched.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby announced the proposals which, he said, would be subject to a fourweek consultation. He explained the reduction was due to an annual budget cut from £500,000 to £300,000.

He added: “While a number of these supported bus services really do provide a vital link for passengers, others rely on a very large council subsidy and are used by very few passengers. We are working closely with the Bus Users’ Panel, Leicester Disabled People’s Action Group, bus companies and the county council on these proposals. The consultation is a chance for other people who use the buses to get involved in the decision-making process.”

The routes involve 500,000 journeys a year which represent 1.4% of Leicester’s total bus traffic. Route 40 outer ring service is being retained as it was used by 249,713 people and attracts subsidies worth £124,000 – about 50p a journey. By comparison, the 10/11 route only attracted 38,682 passengers over the year attracting a subsidy of £5.16p per passenger journey and will be axed.

The proposals were put before a meeting of the Bus Users’ Panel last week. Panel member Paul Southwood said: “The proposals do not fully take into consideration the needs of senior citizens or people with disabilities. They involve more people having to change buses to complete journeys which will cause a great deal of inconvenience.”

Consultation started on June 17 and will last four weeks. The city council executive will make a decision on the proposals towards the end of August. New arrangements will come into force in October if they are approved by the Traffic Commissioner.