What do you think of bus services in Gloucestershire? Gloucestershire County Council is asking people what theirtransport priorities are as part of Meeting the Challenge.
In September, the council announced it was looking to save £2million from its transport budget through a fundamental review of bus routes.
One of the main drivers of the review is the high subsidies the council currently has to pay for some bus journeys.
In future, council-run services will focus on getting people to employment, education and to vital facilities like doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.
To ensure that any changes made, take into account people’s transport needs, from Tuesday 11th January until Monday 31st January, we’re asking people to tell us what they think is most important.
Questionnaires are available online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/busreview and can also be sent out via post from Tuesday.
People will be asked questions about buses ingeneral to ensure we get a clear picture of what the new county-wide services should look like.
Cllr Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: “What we’re proposing here is to start from scratch and completely re-think how we provide bus services.
“At the moment, we’re paying very high subsidies for some services because many people just aren’t using them.
“The new focus will be on getting people to essential services – school, work or to seek medical care, which is vital.
“We need to know what people think about bus services so we can look at what we provide and make the changes.
“I would encourage anyone who uses buses and community transport in Gloucestershire to take part in our consultation and give us your views.”
The review does not mean that the highest subsidy services will definitely be cut, but it does mean that we’re looking to review and improve how all services operate to reduce the financial burden to the council taxpayer.
Community Transport funding will be prioritised so that in some areas where subsidised bus services are not viable, Community Transport minibuses and volunteer car schemes will help fill that gap.
We will continue to support them so they can increase their existing services.
People attending drop-in consultations on concessionary bus fares have already given us a lot of feedback on bus services and this will be added to future feedback we collect.
To request a questionnaire, or for any queries about the review, call the bus review helpline on 01452 426263.
Example – Successful service change
Being flexible in how you travel is essential in future and using innovative ways to purchase transport helps the council reduce the impact of budget reductions.
Since July residents of Cleevemount in Cheltenham have been using a minibus run by Community Transport to visit the town centre and hospital.
In its first five months the number of people using service V has gone up by 46%.
By using the same bus to take children to Belmont School at the start and end of the day the overall cost to the council is half what it used to be, saving £23,000 a year.