Cumbria bus cuts petition gets 1,700 names in Upper Eden Valley

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More than 1,700 people from Cumbria's Upper Eden Valley have petitioned county councillors over proposed cuts to bus subsidies.

In November, Cumbria County Council proposed axing subsidies to 70 loss-making services.

It said the move would save £1.9m per year.

But Kirkby Stephen Conservative councillor Libby Bateman said bus subsidies are not the right area to make cuts.

She said: "A lot of people use the buses to get to school, to get to work and to get to college.

"It is really important. This is not just about subsidising the bus services. This is about the wider economy and the vitality of rural communities."

Budget pressure

Forty-three daytime services, 17 evening services and 10 Sunday services receive subsidies - about 5% of the total services across the county.

The county council needs to save £80m in the next three years, with more than £24m being cut this year.

Some well-used services cost the council 7p per passenger in subsidies while others cost more than £12 per person, according to council figures.

When the proposals were put forward, smaller operators said they would be unable to continue providing services.

Stagecoach, which runs many of the threatened routes, said it would "look at all possibilities once decisions have been made".

A list of routes affected and other budget consultation proposals are available on the county council's website. People have until 20 January to comment on the proposals.

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