Gloucestershire bus routes to go
Bus routes in Gloucestershire are set to go as county officials make tough decisions over subsidies.
A county council spokeswoman said that shrinking budgets and pressures increasing, the council had to "prioritise its public transport spending".
"Focussing on the most essential and well-used bus services is now a priority but this means less-used services or those that are duplicated will have to be withdrawn," she said.
"These changes are difficult, but in the current financial climate there is no other option."
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The council will be reviewing services across the county over the next year and to start the process there will be changes to subsidised buses in Cheltenham.
Some services, which have low passenger numbers or duplicate another service, will be withdrawn or reduced and others will be improved to accommodate need.
Gloucestershire County Council puts £100,000 a year into Cheltenham Community Transport to ensure that elderly people and those with mobility problems have access to services.
In addition to this, the council is planning to run a pilot community transport project to give residents of Sunnyfield Lane and parts of the Benhall Estate access to the local supermarket, library and doctors’ surgery.
The changes are:
* Withdrawing Service K (Cheltenham town centre to Up Hatherley and Warden Hill) completely. Residents living along this route can use Service D (every 10 minutes from town centre to Up Hatherley and Warden Hill). There is also Service 97/98 every half and hour from Cheltenham to Gloucester and Service 94u (again half hourly) from
* The Park Campus to Gloucester and Cheltenham town centres. Withdrawing Service J (Cheltenham town centre to Benhall estate) completely. Residents living along this route can use Service 94 (every 10 minutes) along the A40 from Gloucester to Cheltenham.
* Introducing a more regular timetable for Service N (Cheltenham town centre to Prestbury), with a service every half hour throughout the day to increase its viability. This does mean that residents of Cleevemount estate will no longer have Service W. Residents living here can still catch the Service N from Prestbury Road or use Stagecoach’s Service A.
* Withdrawing the evening journeys for Service H (Cheltenham town centre to Wymans Brook) after 7pm. This is due to very low levels of use.
* Reducing the frequency of Sunday services from hourly to two hourly on Services B (Cheltenham town centre to Charlton Kings), H (Cheltenham Town Centre to Wymans Brook), F (Cheltenham Town Centre to Leckhampton) and G (Cheltenham town centre to St Marks). Again this is due to low levels of use.
* Evening services to Charlton Kings Service B, which had originally been under threat of withdrawal, has been saved by integrating Service B with Service 41.
Councillor Stan Waddington, Cabinet member for environment, said: “We’ve had to take these difficult decisions to make the best use of council tax money.
“It’s no secret that our budgets are getting smaller and smaller so we have to prioritise our spending.
“We also need to focus on maintaining bus services when they are most needed, at times of the day when residents need to get to school, employment, shopping and health services.
“It’s not good use of taxpayers’ money to expect large buses to provide a direct, door to door service to residents who could be better provided for by our community transport.
“I have always said that I believe the national concessionary fares scheme should include community transport, but as it does not we are offering an additional subsidy for residents who used the K and J services to keep the cost to them as low as possible.”
If any residents are affected by these changes, and qualify for community transport, they can contact Cheltenham Community Transport on 01242 515388.