Cabinet approves recommendations to Stroud and Cotswold public transport
Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet have approved changes to local bus services in Stroud and the Cotswolds 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 popular routes, including bus service 54 in the Cotswolds which has vital transport links for education.
The agreed 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's, with the other 90 per cent made on services operated by bus companies without subsidy.
Cabinet was asked to consider a range of proposals at cabinet, which you can view at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk. The agreed 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.
The 54, which travels between Stroud - Cirencester is being recommended to maintain its current service, as the commercial operator has decided to run a term time service without public subsidy.
This would mean that smaller villages will still have access to this important service on school days, as the public preference from the consultation was for the service to operate a faster and more direct service with community transport to link villages to the main service. This will also potentially save the council up to £16,000 per year.
Cabinet also agreed the recommendation to merge services 36 and 40 together from May, as both services cover nearly the same route, to provide people with daily access to GP surgery visits as well as shopping.
Although the overall journey for some passengers will be slightly longer, the merge will mean that the council is able to continue providing two return journeys everyday and save up to £5,000 per year.
Cabinet agreed with the recommendation to Stroud service 8/8a, which will merge into a revised Stroud - Bisley service 25, and will serve communities regular access to Stroud hospital with alternate hours for Bisley and Eastcombe. Although journeys for some may become longer, it will still provide essential travel to the majority of people.
The merge will eliminate duplication for services 8/8a and 25, with the council seeking to provide a regular service that represents an improvement for rural bus users on these routes.
The council consulted on two options for the 852 bus that links Gloucester with Cirencester, which currently costs £9.26 per passenger and is not financially viable.
One was to provide a service between Cirencester and Brockworth, connecting with service 10 at Brockworth to and from Gloucester. During the day, the service would then merge with other routes to cover communities in the area bounded by Colesbourne, Birdlip, Stroud and Cirencester to link with other bus services to Gloucester and Cheltenham.
Public preference was for the service to operate a faster and more direct service with community based transport for linking villages to main services. Due to the high proportion of end-to-end users, cabinet was asked to consider a redesign and further consultation, providing people with the chance to have more say in how they want their transport service to run.
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 36 service in Stroud are saying. We're working really hard to find ways to save money, whilst protecting and improving services - and the changes in Stroud and the Cotswolds are a good example of that.
"A new merged service for the 36 and 40 will allow us to still offer communities a way to access important health appointments and shopping visits."