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Further bus cuts delayed by a year
4:36pm Sunday 29th June 2014 in News
MORE bus cuts coming on top of reductions which have left many elderly and vulnerable people stranded across North Yorkshire have been put back a year.
But campaigners say have still been unable to sort out problems caused by the existing cuts which saw bus subsidies slashed by £2m in April.
There was a storm of protest over this years cuts with 15 petitions signed by nearly 6,000 people. The county council warned then, more cuts were on the cards in 2015.
Now the authority says further reductions will not be introduced until April 2016 at the earliest until after an in depth review of what remains of the subsidised network and an investigation into bus subsidies to see how to make them more sustainable.
But Paul Fisher, secretary of Hambleton Over 50’s Forum, run by Age UK, said many people were still trying to get answers over the existing cuts.
At a recent meeting to gauge concern, they were told of one 94-year-old woman from Stokesley who had to pay £26 for a taxi to see her doctor because services had been cut so badly.
He said: “We are pleased to see that North Yorkshire County Council is going to take their time to make further reductions, but they are still talking about reductions.
“We have had no response, from the council or bus operators, to the issues raised relating to the existing cuts which have left people unable to access services.
“We have seen no evidence that community transport has received any additional help.
“We are happy to work with the county council and bus operators, on any issues and we hope that this time our concerns will be listened to.”
County councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for integrated passenger transport, said: “It is crucially important to this authority that people across this extensive, largely rural county are able to continue to access vital services and therefore we must give very careful consideration to a whole series of options.
“This is a very wide-ranging piece of work that needs time and commitment. It is now clear that this work cannot be completed before April 2016.”
The council says it is looking at ways of helping bus operators provide additional commercial services, review performance, look at making use of school bus services in rural areas and existing community transport and investigate using the council’s in house fleet.