Village bus routes might be axed

peter shipp

peter shipp

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There are fears that journeys on rural bus routes around the county could be axed, and fares could rise, after £240,000 cuts by East Riding Council.

The council claimed their budget, which included a freeze in council tax for the fourth year running, wouldn’t “involve any major reductions to services”.

However, one of the region’s major bus operators East Yorkshire Motor Services says the £240,000 cut to concessionary bus travel in the East Riding “certainly will affect some services” and could see rises in fares for those who do pay. To add to their woes two further years of cuts are expected, totalling £750,000.

EYMS chairman Peter Shipp said less-travelled rural routes were likely to be affected, and added: “We will have to look at evening, Sundays and between the peak journeys. I would hope we wouldn’t cut out any whole routes but I can’t rule that out completely.

“Generally speaking it is the ones in the rural areas, they tend to be less used. Even some of the services that are already financially supported by the council are pretty marginal because we have had cost increases that have exceeded retail price index increases.”

The concessionary bus travel scheme allows pensioners free off-peak bus travel on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays.

Mr Shipp continued: “I think it should be maintained but we need to be paid appropriately for it.

“The payments we are getting are going down year after year and £240,000 is going to have some effect. Our budget is really predicting a break-even and we can’t carry on like that.

“We will have to look even more closely at some of the marginal services and journeys and it may have an effect on fares. The concessionary bus travel scheme is a good idea; it gets people onto buses and it makes it easier for older people to get out and about but it is seriously under-funded and very bureaucratic.”

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