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Hertfordshire Bus Travellers Ignored - Tories Force Through Bus Cuts Against Strong Lib Dem Protest

May 21, 2015 1:10 PM
387Conservative run Herts County Council has decided on a second slice of bus cuts - they will now slash a further £1.47m from the bus budget. This means a dozen key bus routes will go, others will only run up to 7.30pm. Sunday services will disappear with just a very few that serve hospitals running only up to to 7.30pm. Throughout the week, evening hospital visits will be made almost impossible shift staff will be hit hard.
The Conservatives voted by 42 votes to 30 to push through the bus cuts, despite condemnation by the NHS Trusts, bus operators and the public.

NHS Trusts had clearly said that the 7.30pm cut off time was wrong and asked the County Council to maintain routes servicing hospitals until regular visiting times had finished. But this plea fell on deaf Tory ears!

Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Hertfordshire County Council, told the meeting: "Not a single iota of compassion has come from your side. You got this wrong. The second consultation showed 80 per cent of those that responded were bus users and 53 per cent were over 55 and a full 70 per cent of all respondents were against the cuts proposals.

"None of that has been recognised. Quite frankly, this is a black day for the County Council and a black day for public transport and most certainly a black day for Hertfordshire bus users. You are effectively saying you not care about public transport."

The Liberal Democrats also wanted to know also why council chiefs were not listening to the bus operators who are saying these cuts are wrong. In their consultation response Sullivan Buses said:
  • "... disappointed these are additional to proposals to remove funding from evening and Sunday services.
  • "Very disappointed proposed savings are now double that of previous consultation despite the opposing responses.
  • "Cuts impact on people going to and from work; many are on low pay and/or young."

Cllr Giles-Medhurst added: "In the period of 5 years the Tories at County Hall have now cut the supported bus budget from £7.1m to £2.4m - the highest level of cut of any service and one that will clearly affect the most vulnerable in society, the elderly, the low paid and the disadvantaged. It's nothing short of a scandal."