We can't afford to subsidise Pewsey's rural buses, says Wiltshire Council (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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We can't afford to subsidise Pewsey's rural buses, says Wiltshire Council
Cuts to bus services in the Pewsey Vale are being pushed through because Wiltshire Council’s current public transport contracts are due to run out in October, Devizes Area Board heard on Monday.
The proposed cuts are to the Connect2Wiltshire service, that will see the end to the flexible routes currently being operated and the night bus.
Kate Freeman, the Devizes Community Area Partnership spokesman, said: “There are a lot of upset people in the Pewsey Vale. We have been presented with a single option which will result in abandoned communities who have no transport.
“I understand the council needs to save £70,000, but there must be other options. This way we will lose the £250,000 that has been invested.”
Coun Horace Prickett, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for public transport, told the meeting: “I am very happy to take back suggestions but the contracts have to be renewed by October, or we will have no bus service.
“The fund that was paid for by central government dried up years ago and the service has been subsidised by Wiltshire Council ever since. We can’t afford it any more.”
Mrs Freeman replied that it was unfair that rural communities should lose out because of a problem caused by Wiltshire Council. She suggested that a transport consultant be employed.
Coun Philip Whitehead, the chairman of the area board, said: “We can’t delay implementing the new contracts by inviting outside groups to take part. We are still happy to consider other options until the new contracts are implemented.”
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