Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire volunteer bus services delayed

Plans to ask volunteers to drive buses in Worcestershire to save money have been delayed.

Worcestershire County Council had hoped to have 17 bus routes taken over by volunteers by September.

Sally Ellison, the county's Community Transport Partnership chairman, said they had encountered a number of problems during the short time frame.

The council has kept on paid drivers on the routes while the partnership works out if it can provide the service.

In May the council announced it was reducing its spending on subsidised bus services by £2.5m, more than half the £4m budget.

The Conservative-led council has said it has to save up to £70m by 2015.

'Early days'

Ms Ellison said: "We can't just pick up things. We have to look at what the needs of the community are and make sure those needs are things we can sustain as services in the long term."

She said they had to work out if they had enough spare volunteers and vehicles or if they could hire buses from the council.

"We don't want to damage what we're providing by taking on things we can't cover the costing for," she said.

Councillor John Smith, portfolio holder for transport at the council, said it was still "early days" but they were already in talks with community groups.

He said people would not need special licences for large vehicles because minibuses were suitable for the type of service required.

He added there was a "small amount" of financial support available and also the possibility of the council providing some vehicles.

He said: "We will continue to work extremely hard and staff are really committed to making this system work."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites