Lincolnshire bus services to reduce despite council retracting proposed cuts

The number of bus services delivered in Lincolnshire will reduce, despite county councillors making a u-turn on their proposals to cut funding.

Lincolnshire County Council says bus users across the county are being introduced to new reduced timetables as a result of cost increases and changes to the commercial network, with some bus operators’ contracts increasing by 10%.

It was agreed the the council would not cut the proposed £2.2 million from the bus subsidies budget once additional funding of £5.2 million was announced from government.

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transportation said: “The additional funding of £5.2m that we received from government in February has enabled the county council to make a commitment to continue to deliver a public transport service across the whole of the county.

“It also enabled us to protect winter maintenance and children’s centres budgets.

“We recognise that rural bus services are important to keep people connected, and without that extra funding, we would have lost over 100 subsidised bus services across Lincolnshire.

“We have to ensure that the budget is managed in a way that ensures value for money for the taxpayers of Lincolnshire.

“With regard to the public transport budget we have around 180 fixed route contracts costing in excess of £3 million with a number of operators which are negotiated or tendered for on a regular basis.

“Any contract is subject to market forces such as the level of competition, cost increases and changes in the commercial bus network.

“Some of those bus service contracts have increased by 40% to 50%, and this is therefore likely to lead to reductions in the numbers of bus services that can be delivered.

“We’re continuing to work with bus operators to ensure we can make better use of services, that they are meeting people’s needs, and to avoid seeing empty buses travelling around the county.

“We are also looking at making better use of transport services for schools and adult social care, with the possibility that services for residents will increase in locations including Louth.”

Campaigns against the previously planned cuts to bus services and the closure of Sure Start centres attracted the support of thousands of Lincolnshire residents.

The county council did not have a comprehensive list of timetable changes for users of the services when contacted by The Lincolnite.

To find out more information, people are being encouraged to contact their bus service providers individually.