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Buses safe in latest round of cut backs
8:30am Saturday 13th October 2012 in News
KNUTSFORD’S bus users have been given a boost after it was revealed the town’s services have been spared by council bosses in the latest round of subsidy cut backs.
The public transport consultation was held between April and June this year, with two sessions for residents being held at St John’s Wood Community Centre on June 11.
The council held the consultation as its business plan for the next three years has to include a saving of £500,000 in the support for local bus services – that represents an 18 per cent reduction in funding.
Knutsford’s bus services – including the popular 300 town circular, the 27 service to Macclesfield, the 88 to Wilmslow and Altrincham, the 47 to Warrington and Lower Peover and the 289 to Northwich – were all included in the consultation.
But council bosses have decided that all of the town’s services have been deemed as being ‘priority’ and as such they will not lose their council subsidy.
The majority of services that will see their subsidy cut back are in Crewe and the south of the borough – with some affecting school services.
A spokesman for Cheshire East Council said: “This decision follows extensive stakeholder and community consultations to shape Cheshire East’s Local Transport Plan and a two-month consultation period on these specific proposals.
“The council’s strategic priorities for transport are to ensure a sustainable future and create conditions for business growth. The other key criteria for subsidies are accessibility to transport and value for money.
“Cheshire East’s decision will save taxpayers approximately £600,000 a year. Some other local authorities have completely stopped such subsidies. Even with the agreed subsidy withdrawals, the council will still be supporting more than two million passenger journeys a year and is committed to budget support of £2.4m a year.
“It is important to stress that withdrawal of subsidy does not mean the bus services affected will necessarily cease. This will be a business decision for bus operators.
“The council is committed to working with bus companies, local schools and residents to mitigate the impact on local communities.
“The council has already started discussions to encourage operators to continue to run the bus services on a commercial basis.
“The council is committed to maintaining services wherever it can. The transport review is part of the ongoing review of equitable service delivery.
“We believe that it is good to consult with people locally and our review of commitments and contracts is ongoing.
“Cheshire East has a high level of commitment to public transport.”
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