Bus companies given more time

BUS companies have been given more time to put some subsidised routes on a commercial footing.

West Sussex County Council is in the third and final phase of a programme to reduce the subsidy it gives to bus companies for non-commercial routes.

This is part of a drive by the county council to cut spending by £79 million over three years following significant grant reductions from central government.

Pieter Montyn, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, has sanctioned a proposal, put forward by the bus companies, where operators have indicated they are able to develop some services in the expectation that they can remain with very low or no subsidy.

The recommendation received the support of the Environmental and Community Services Select Committee at a meeting held last month.

The call-in period has now passed and the decision has come into effect.

Pieter said: “The decision has been made to reduce the subsidies, but we are now working closely with the bus operators to explore all the avenues available to us.”

Further details on the changes to subsidising the county’s non-commercial bus routes will be made available from June onwards.