Council to decide if bus services will lose subsidy

Monday, 20 May 2019

– Transport

by Liz BradfieldGEM Local Democracy Reporter

A decision will be taken by Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) cabinet members this week on plans by the local authority to cut all its subsidies for bus services in the county.

The decision comes after a public consultation on the plans which showed that two thirds of local people were against the cuts.

Of the 714 responses, many said they used the bus to get to GP surgeries and the hospital, as well as for social, and leisure purposes.

Just over a quarter of people said they had a disability with the majority of those using the bus every day, or more than twice a week.

According to the consultation, the three most popular routes are between Nottage and Porthcawl, Maesteg Parc and Maesteg Town Centre, and Dan-y-Graig and Porthcawl.

More than 100 people said they used the bus every day.

The council said it could save £148,000 if it ended the funding which supports the provision of regional and local bus services by subsidising routes that are

not commercially viable.

Any cuts in funding will affect Bridgend Bus Station, which could lose around £4,000 a year due to the reduced bus movements and loss of departure charges.

The council is blaming “continued financial austerity” for the cuts.

In a report going before cabinet members on May 21, officers pointed out that cuts in subsidies might not necessarily mean services were lost.

When subsidies were axed last summer for six bus services, it said the majority of routes were retained on a commercial basis by the bus operator, although it did involve changes or reductions in frequencies.

Chief executive Mark Shephard stated in the report: “Previous experience suggests that where a subsidy has been removed, operators have adjusted and rationalised their operations to run the affected services on a commercial basis.

“It is unclear at this stage, however, whether the commercial element of bus services will still continue to operate on the partly or fully funded routes if there is a decision to remove the subsidy.”

The council said it would continue to work with Bridgend Community Transport to see if it would be able to replace any or all of the proposed bus routes for withdrawal.

The bus services that could potentially no longer be subsidised are: 16 (Easyway) Bridgend to Blaengarw; 37 (Easyway) Maesteg Parc Estate; 51 (Easyway) Bridgend to Oaklands (circular) via Bridgend Life Centre/Bridgend Library; 61 (Peyton Travel) Nottage to Porthcawl; 67 (First Cymru) Bridgend to Aberkenfig via Pen-y-Fai; 73 (First Cymru) Bridgend to Blaengarw; 76 (First Cymru) Bridgend to Bettws and 803 (Easyway) Danygraig Avenue to Porthcawl.

Liz Bradfield

Local democracy reporter

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