Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Second phase of bus subsidy reductions announced

West Sussex County Council has announced which bus subsidies are to be reduced in the second phase of a three-year savings plan.

The County Council announced earlier this year that it would be reducing the level at which it subsidises non commercial bus routes.

This is part of a drive to reduce County Council spending by £79 million over three years following significant grant reductions from central government.

The bus subsidy reductions are being introduced in three phases. The first phase was announced in July and is in the process of being implemented.

The changes announced in phase two will be implemented in two stages during 2012 – some in April and some in September.

The decision was endorsed by a majority of members of the Strategic Environmental Services Select Committee at its meeting on Wednesday November 30.

The list of affected subsidised routes was recommended by the Bus Support Working Group. This cross-party group of councillors has undertaken detailed research into bus usage, and has considered information gathered from the public during an impact assessment in May and June of this year.

The decision to stagger phase two means some subsidised Crawley and Mid Sussex services will continue as they are to the end of August 2012. This will allow all subsidised services in those areas to be tendered in a single revised arrangement to start September 2012.

Pieter Montyn, County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said:

“Decisions to reduce spending are never easy to make but we are in a position where changes must be made.

“We are continuing to work with bus operators and the local community to look for ways to keep services running where possible. We have already seen some example of routes continuing on a commercial basis and we are hopeful that more opportunities can be identified.”

A bus user survey is currently being held regarding the third phase of bus subsidy reductions. People can find out more by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/buses

The closing date for feedback is January 17 2012.

The decision on the third phase is expected to be made in April 2012 with implementation taking place in September 2012.