Durham County Council 'to cut Sunday bus service'

Durham County Council is planning to withdraw its subsidy from all Sunday bus services, it has emerged.

Documents obtained by BBC Radio Newcastle outline the cutbacks which aim to make more than £1m in savings.

Durham County Council pays out £4.5m each year to secure services which would not be commercially viable for operators without council support.

It is envisaged the cutbacks will take effect from 17 April.

Evening services will also be affected.

The Labour-controlled county council said the subsidised services made up 20% of the whole bus network, with the rest provided by the operators as commercial ventures.

In the report to county council members, it said more than 95% of bus passenger journeys in County Durham would be largely unaffected.

The move follows a public consultation carried out by the council to find out which services should be given priority for retention.

A total of 268 responses were received. According to the report, only 14% said they would like to retain Sunday and bank holiday services.

Council 'direction'

Independent Weardale councillor John Shuttleworth said: "We always knew there was going to be cuts. But the way it has been carried out is wrong.

"Once again it seems no-one is listening. Their minds were obviously already made up.

"Again it is the rural towns and villages that are going to be hardest hit. People without transport and people that rely on buses for their everyday needs."

Labour cabinet member, councillor Neil Foster confirmed the proposals were "the direction" the council was taking.

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