Council to provide communities in Forest with key transport links
Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet has approved changes to local bus services in Gloucester and Forest of Dean as part of a bid to make £75million savings across council services over the next three years.
Following public consultation, the council is looking to protect the most popular subsidised routes. The recommendations come following a public consultation on council-funded public transport which received over 3,200 responses.
Council-funded buses are used for 10 per cent of all bus journeys in the county, with the other 90 per cent made on services operated by bus companies without subsidy.
Cabinet was asked to consider a range of proposals today, which you can view at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk. The approved recommendations will look to make changes, maintain or redesign services, based on what alternatives are available, including community transport, with a view to finding savings to help protect crucial council services elsewhere.
Over 3200 responses were received to the consultation and, now approved by cabinet; there will be combined savings from evening and Sunday services 23, 24, 30 and 31 that service the Forest of Dean, by merging them. Several communities will benefit from these changes, while over 465 people responded to the consultation about these services alone.
The proposal for the four services to become a circular service on Sundays and evenings from September, received good levels of support from respondents. The route is expected to go from Gloucester and travel through Newnham - Lydney - Coleford - Mitcheldean in both directions before reaching Gloucester again, and could be introduced later this year.
Monday to Saturday daytime services, 23, 24 and 30/31 will continue to be provided by Stagecoach without subsidy.
Service 9, serving Gloucester to Tuffley in the evenings, was recommended to become an hourly service following an overwhelming preference over changing the service to just two evenings a week and has been approved by cabinet today.
The overall number of passengers for the service does not justify maintaining the current frequency of one bus every half an hour and the changes could save up £7,000 per year.
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: "We've listened to what people in Gloucestershire who use buses like the 9 service in Gloucester are saying. We're working really hard to find ways to save money, whilst protecting as many services as possible - and the changes in Gloucester and Forest of Dean are a good example of that.
"A new circular service in the Forest will offer more communities transport links, offering more people an evening service to make essential journeys."