bus cutsDespite over twelve thousand Herts residents petitioning for bus services to be protected the Conservatives in County Hall are still determined to slash bus services across the County.

At yesterday’s County Council Highways and Transport Panel Tories voted down proposals from the Liberal Democrats that would have protected bus services and saved £753,000. Instead they chose to ignore their own public consultation which showed only 30 people out of 4,548 supported cuts in services and also ignored 10 petitions totalling over 12,000signatures from local residents opposing cuts.

Instead the Conservatives have pushed through plans for a new consultation on cutting £1m from the bus budget.

Rather than save bus services the Conservatives at County Hall are looking at capping bus subsidies at a level that will mean no buses at all in some of our most rural areas and stopping certain routes at 7.30pm.

Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Opposition on Hertfordshire County Council, commented:

“The full range of cuts they are now proposing amount to £1.5 million- on top of £700,000 savings alreadymade – that’s £2.2m in total! There will be some areas with no evening bus service, and many parts of the County with no bus service at all. I am shocked and disgusted that the Tories having consulted residents, having now found the savings they wanted are now wanting to decimate the bus services totally. This is a scandal and disgusting.”

“Shift workers, people visiting family in hospital and even commuters will be hit – many people are still on their way home from work at 7.30pm. We should be encouraging people out of cars and onto buses, and cutting services like this will just make matters worse.

“It seems like HCC Tories are totally out of touch with the needs of Hertfordshire: they are cutting public transport, failing to repair potholes and of course still pursuing their deeply flawed New Barnfield incinerator contract.  Despite tens of thousands of people letting them know that they are not happy conservatives just don’t listen.” There will be a fresh round of consultations from January to March with a decision next May.

Cllr Giles-Medhurst and the Liberal Democrats pledged to fight tooth and nail against the suggested cuts.

“Today Herts Tories showed they were heartless and want to cut the only means of transport for tens of thousands of residents, whether to get to work , hospitals, shopping or just go out. We cannot allow this cull of our public transport service to happen”