Leicestershire bus services face taxi replacement

A policy of providing bus services to remote areas of Leicestershire looks set to be dropped in an effort to save £750,000.

The county council had maintained a day time bus service, of at least hourly frequency, within an 800 metre (2,600ft) walk of 95% of residents.

But this means some low-use routes cost the equivalent of £12 per passenger in subsidies.

Now the authority wants to replace these services with a pre-booked taxis.

Pilot schemes

Officials said widening the use of demand responsive transport (DRT), made financial sense.

DRT schemes use a taxi to pick up residents who have pre-booked trips.

Lesley Pendleton, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "We have some tough savings to make - £74m over a four-year period - and need to ensure the residents of Leicestershire are getting good value for money.

"In order to address this, we are looking to review our current bus policy and will consider other ways of enabling residents who live in areas where bus usage is low to access essential services.

"There are a number of DRT schemes already running in the county and the response we have had from residents who use them has been good."

The county council provides around 15% of the county's bus network with the rest being covered by commercial firms. The council said the cost of DRT to the user would be comparable with commercial bus fares.

The exact number of routes affected will be considered by the council's cabinet on 3 April and a consultation will be carried out.

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