17/09/2011

Norfolk County Council : Bus Cuts Reduced! :-)

Norfolk County Council have announced that
their cabinet have backed plans that will help protect the future of subsidised post-16 transport for students and reduce the cut in funding faced by rural bus services.

The proposals supported by Cabinet are to:

~ Reduce the original £1m reduction in rural transport support next year (2012-13) to £700,000 over two years

~ Provide an additional £200,000 to post-16 transport to reduce the cost to students or parents of maintaining the service from September 2012

Cabinet support for these changes amends previously approved lists of savings for the next two years.

Rural bus services
Cabinet agreed that the £1m reduction originally proposed for rural transport support should be scaled back to £700,000 over two years - £500,000 in 2012-13, and £200,000 in 2013-14. County Council support for local bus services would then be £3m in 2012-13, and £2.8m in 2013-14.

Ian Mackie said the council was doing what it could to maintain public transport links to rural communities. "The County Council funds over 130 services and only a minority will be affected under the reduced savings I proposed. "Our staff are working hard to minimise the impact on communities, and we will be consulting local people before we finalise our plans. I also want to recognise the part that Norfolk's bus operators are playing by working with us to help reduce the impact and develop new proposals. In 2013-14 we are confident that we can avoid a direct effect on services and find the remaining £200,000 through prudent contract management.

"At the same time we are developing new rural travel and transport options based upon community and demand-responsive transport, as well as car clubs and car sharing. Together these can offer different travel choices when traditional bus services don't offer good value for money."

He said the funding shortfall in Government support for the concessionary travel scheme was still a major issue for Norfolk, and the County Council would be considering new ways to press Norfolk's case for fairer funding.

Post-16 transport
Savings of £600,000 had been found towards a £1m savings target on subsidised post-16 transport to college and sixth form from September 2012. To meet the £1m target, the remaining £400,000 would have been carried by parents through higher contributions.

However, Cabinet supported a proposal that the council should contribute a further £200,000 to halve this amount, raising the council's 2012-13 subsidy to £1.6m. Parents' contributions will be reduced from 10% to 5% of the actual cost.

The above information is extracted from an official Norfolk County Council press release