Three bus services get a one-year reprieve after council cutbacks

Thursday, 17 May 2018

– Local People

by Philip IrwinGEM Reporter


A number of bus services across Bridgend county are under threat after the local authority pulled its funding for them.

Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC), which subsidises a range of bus routes, will save £136,000 as a result.

Councillors who voted through the cuts at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday May 15 gave three routes a one-year reprieve – saying they had listened to people during a public consultation held between January and March 2018.

It means the number 51 Bridgend to Oaklands Road and number 803 Danygraig to Porthcawl services, both operated by Easyway, will continue to receive council subsidies for the next 12 months, as will the number 61 bus from Nottage to Porthcawl run by Peyton Travel.

These routes, which are fully-funded by the council due to not being commercially viable provide access to Bridgend Library, and South Road Surgery and Portway Surgery in Porthcawl.

Funding for two other bus routes which had been fully subsidised by the council will be withdrawn.

One of those is the number 52 Easyway service from Bridgend to Broadlands which operates during the day from Monday to Saturday.

It means Broadlands residents will now need to travel on the alternative bus services which run along Park Street.

The second service to have its funding withdrawn is the number 73 Pyle to Fforddygyfraith which runs on Tuesdays and Fridays only, and provides access to Princess of Wales Hospital.

The council is also withdrawing the subsidies it pays towards the running of four other partly-funded bus routes.

It is not yet known what actions the commercial operators will take over the affected routes.

The routes which will be affected are the number 81 – Bridgend to Pen-y-Fai via Brackla and Coity (Easyway), number 68/69 – Bridgend to Cefn Glas (First Cymru), number 63B – Bridgend to Porthcawl (First Cymru), and number 62 – Bridgend to Pencoed (First Cymru).

In total, 974 people responded to the public consultation on bus cuts with 89 per cent saying the subsidised routes should continue.

The cabinet member for communities, Cllr Richard Young said the funding for the three saved services would be for one year, which would enable the council to discuss the way forward with bus operators and community transport groups.

He said: “We are not yet in the position of some local authorities who have already discontinued their bus subsidies.”

He added: “With the far reaching considerations of the City Deal, we cant say how public transport will be funded or will develop in the future.

“What we can do at the moment is salvage what exists, and what we can, and urge the bus companies to work with us, to maintain these services.”

The cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Charles Smith, said: “This isn’t a pleasant task, we don’t want to cut anything if we can.”

He said the decision to save three of the services this year was “just a case of buying time”, adding “nobody can predict what the knock-on effects are going to be of continuing austerity cuts in the long-term”.

Officers had recommended subsidies be removed from all the above services saving the council £188,000.

The extra £52,000 planned savings will now have to be found from elsewhere – it is likely to come from the funding set aside from the additional increase in council tax.

LDR

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