Hampshire County Council is asking for residents’ and stakeholders’ views in a public consultation on options for applying budget reductions in subsidies for public transport and in street lighting.
This follows the Shaping Hampshire: Balancing the Budget public consultation in 2017 which identified residents’ priorities.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council said “We’ve had to look hard at all services the County Council provides to close the funding shortfall brought about by reduced funding for council services and rising demand for social care for both adults and children.
“We are, therefore, having to consider how we reduce the subsidies we provide to support those bus services which are not commercially viable to contribute to these savings. Our priority is to direct resources to where they are most needed, and I’m pleased to say that the County Council’s Cabinet agreed earlier this year to protect the community transport service which provides vital support for elderly and disabled residents in particular.
“For some time, I’ve been working with Hampshire’s bus operators to discuss how, between us, we can reduce the impact of our budget pressures on supporting bus travel.
“Bus use in Hampshire is close to a 20 year high, and the vast majority of journeys are made on commercial services operating without any public subsidy at all. However, even though 89% of bus services in Hampshire run without public subsidy, the pressure on the County Council’s revenue budget means we can no longer afford the level of subsidies we have provided in the past.”
The County Council is seeking to make savings by making changes to financial support for public transport services. Feedback from passengers will be carefully looked at, alongside data on passenger journeys and the cost of providing individual routes or services to inform final recommendations for consideration in the Autumn.
Councillor Humby continued “It’s important we hear people’s views so we can make informed decisions. It may be that service frequencies on subsidised routes are changed, or the days on which some services run, so we particularly need to hear from the people who use these routes what they think about potential changes.”
Community Transport schemes, such as Dial-a-Ride, Call and Go, Taxishares and Minibus Group Hire Schemes are not included in these proposals but people will be asked whether the discretionary discount for holders of older persons’ bus passes on community transport should be continued.
The County Council is also asking residents their views on proposals to switch off some street lights for two or more hours during the night. This would mean that some areas of the county would have no street lighting for a period of the night time.
Further information and the online questionnaire is available online at www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations. The consultation closes at midnight on 5 August 2018. Paper copies will be available on request by calling: 0300 555 1388.
A full list of public transport subsidised services will be included.