THREE ‘lifeline’ bus services are set to be axed by cash-strapped Thurrock Council.
A 12-week consultation was carried out from July on changes or withdrawal of the 11, 265 and 374 bus services, which the council has supported with an annual £452,000 subsidy.
The services cover areas such as east and west Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope, Socketts Heath, West Horndon, Linford and Bulphan, providing links to Thurrock Hospital and a proposed integrated medical centre, Basildon Hospital and Basildon Station.
Following the consultation, a report to cabinet recommended discontinuing the subsidised services.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Ben Maney, councillor responsible or transport and public safety, said: “This is not one of those papers that it gives me any pleasure to bring to cabinet. I am asking colleagues to make a difficult decision but I think it is absolutely the right decision.
“The council has for four years been subsidising three bus services in the borough number 11,265 and 374. They cover a wide range of communities. If these services are lost, let’s be frank, they will have no other access to public transport that why it is a difficult decision.”
Mr Maney said the services could cost close to £1million in the coming years as the council faces a £469million defecit.
He added: “I’m convinced as I possibly can be that’s not sustainable. It’s too much of a burden on the tax payer and I don’t believe the council should be in the business of for ever and a day funding bus services which are not council services.
“They’re not statutory services. If they were used properly they would be self-financing and sustainable but they’re not.”
Barry Johnson, Conservative councillor for Orsett ward, said: “I’m fully aware of the upheaval this is going to cause in my particular ward but I cannot justified the fairness of the spend on the rest of Thurrock’s population so I will be supporting the recommendation. Maybe I could just say to my own residents I will continue to search for a solution while I’m an elected member to try and get something to run through the villages.”
Cabinet agreed the recommendation.
“We can’t afford to subsidize these route’s” say the people on £100,000+ (+ expenses) a year.
That’s all well and good but my children use the 11 bus service for school runs, they cannot get home from school and college without it unless they walk down a dangerous country lane as I am a single working parent, the alternative is me giving up work, that’s not going to help the council or myself, I cannot be the only one
Incredible, the council are responsible for the massive debt the borough is in, whilst they hang on to their huge salaries, we have got to pay with higher council tax and reduction in the service provided.
The elderly people, college students and school children that rely on these bus services are now left with trying to find alternative and the extra money to pay for it.
My daughter uses the 11 for work. It’s one of the very few buses that run on Stifford clays goes to ockendon. How are these remote places?
The council is a joke. Aren’t we supposed to be going green? This will now force more cars on the road when people can be using public transport if the services were run properly .