Oxfordshire bus service subsidies cut

Subsidies to bus services in Oxfordshire are to be cut by £300,000 a year as the county council tries to save £119m by 2015.

The Campaign for Better Transport said six bus services in the county would be withdrawn or reduced as a result.

The council denied the changes were a result of the cuts but said they reflected the demand for services.

It said the money would be saved instead by "driving down the cost of contracts" with operators.

A spokesman said: "Changes to bus services, including the potential withdrawal or reduction of services, are part of the normal process of reviewing and retendering services, which all councils carry out, year in, year out.

"Where services are reduced, this is almost always as a result of low passenger usage, to the extent that using public funds to maintain that service can no longer be justified.

"Conversely new services are often introduced - again, to reflect demand identified as part of the ongoing review of services."

He added: "We have not, and do not plan to, cut bus services to achieve these savings."

The Campaign for Better Transport said one in five bus services in England could be cut as a result of government and local authority budget cuts.

Charity spokeswoman Sophie Allain said: "Buses are cheap and they are essential to the economy, getting people to work and places where they spend money.

"Our figures reveal a pretty bleak picture but what's more worrying is it's set to get a lot worse. Unless something is done we run the very real risk of doing to buses what Dr Beeching did to the local rail network."

The Conservative-led county council spent £4.3m on bus subsidies in 2010-11.

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