Northampton

Bus subsidies set to be scrapped in Northamptonshire

Bus subsidies in Northamptonshire are set to be scrapped to save the county council £1.4m as part of plans to save £68m in the next financial year.

The savings could see bus firms pulling out of some subsidised services, the council said.

Northamptonshire County Council said savings needed to be made because of a reduction in the government grant and the economic downturn.

A budget of £700,000 will be used to explore new public transport solutions.

These would be targeted at communities to provide more "tailored public transport", said the council.

'Situation cannot continue'

Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, said: "We know how painful this proposal will be for many people and we know that it may mean the end for many existing bus services.

"But when you look at the figures and the facts about how much some of these services are costing the tax payer it is clear that in the current climate the current situation just cannot go on."

The council currently pays and subsidises private bus companies to keep routes running where low passenger numbers mean the service is not commercially viable.

The council said some routes receive marginal subsidies while other routes are heavily subsidised, receiving in some cases between £5 and £25 per passenger per journey.

Proposals for new transport systems are currently being drawn up but could include car-sharing schemes.

A final decision on the plans will be made by the full council at a later date.

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