By Ian Dipple Thursday 17 October 2013 Updated: 18/10 10:43
SCORES of bus routes could be cut across the county as part of a £3.6million savings plan.
Currently 80 per cent of bus services are run by commercial companies but about 100 routes are subsidised using taxpayers cash because they are deemed socially important.
But Coun John Smith OBE, responsible for highways on the county council, said in some cases they were spending £6 to £7 per person per journey in bus subsidy which was not value for money.
The council admits the move will hit the elderly, young and those without cars – of which there are over 7,000 households in the borough.
But Chief executive Trish Haines said it was a myth thousands of people would be left stranded as a result of any changes.
"If there were thousands and thousands of people who wanted these services they would be commercially viable."
Coun Smith added in some instances a service may be maintained but run less often, fares increased or another operator may be found to take it on.
Community transport providers will also be expected to fill some of the gaps, although their funding is also being cut.
But almost £3million of efficiency savings will be found, including renegotiating the highways maintenance contract, while around £500,000 more is expected to be invested in the upkeep of the county’s roads.
Spending on pedestrian, cycle and road safety schemes will also be cut.
"It may not be a cheaper contract it may be a more expensive contract but it will be more efficient and we will get more potholes repaired for our pound. I give my guarantee we will continue to work with our contractors to keep our highways safe and as far as possible pothole free," Coun Smith added.
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