Hereford & Worcester

Council cuts put bus routes in Worcestershire 'at risk'

Dozens of bus routes in Worcestershire could be axed by the county council as it looks to save millions of pounds.

The council said it wanted to save £2.5m from its current £4m annual bill for 150 subsidised services that are not provided by private operators.

A 12-week consultation will start on 10 January.

The council has said it needed to make £20m savings next year, rather than the £13m it had expected to make as a result of the Spending Review.

Councillor Derek Prodger said the council can pay £10 per seat in subsidies.

"Some buses cost £10 per seat to subsidise, some higher than that," he told BBC News.

'Low use services'

"I have not got the funding for that.

"Some services are subsidised for a few pence and that we will keep because that is not a a big item for the budget.

"But because when you are subsidising a seat on an empty bus to £10 per empty seat, it just isn't viable."

Last month, the council said it was also reviewing its library service which could lead to premises being run by communities or to closures and may turn off some street lighting.

Council leader Adrian Hardman said: "The question is does Worcestershire want to continue to subsidise very high costing, low use services that deliver a limited effect for few people?

"What we haven't done though is just look at the costs involved because the issue isn't that simple.

"That's why we've taken into account a number of things including the levels of need and possible alternative services when putting together the plans, which people will have the chance to comment on during the public consultation that will begin next month."

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