Proposed cuts to bus services

Honiton, Seaton and Lyme Regis affected. Even Jurassic Coast service could be cut.

BUS SERVICES in Honiton, Seaton and Lyme Regis could be axed under new proposals outlined by Devon County Council.

The proposed reductions will affect the number 20 service, which covers Seaton and Honiton, and the Jurassic Coast X53 service, which covers Exeter, Lyme Regis, Weymouth and Poo.

As part of the reductions, the number 20 Seaton, Honiton and Taunton service could face losing its 8.44am service from Honiton in a bid to make an annual saving of �13,782.

The Sunday service for the X53 may also be withdrawn saving an annual sum of �4,000.

In addition to these cuts, afternoon services on the 391, 392 and 393 covering Seaton town could also be reduced under the new plans.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Our Government grant is being reduced and we have no choice other than to make cuts.”

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The county council is proposing to cut �1.35million from its public transport budget, which will be around �20million for 2011/12.

From April it will be responsible for concessionary bus fares, which has left the council facing a shortfall putting pressure on the services already supported by DCC.

Mr Hughes added: “Pressure on our services have been made even more difficult by the �5million shortfall of funding we’re receiving when over 60’s concessionary bus passes becomes our responsibility in April.

“Rather than simply reducing the most expensive routes we have had a thorough look at services and wherever possible we have tried to ensure that communities are not cut off.

“At our Tough Choices budget consultation programme at the end of last year, 60 per cent of people identified public transport subsidies as services which should be cut.”

DCC has stated that 6.1 million passenger journeys are made its public bus services, which is around quarter of the 25 million passenger journeys made on all buses in the county each year – the rest of which are commercial services.

Support will also be withdrawn from services that are not well used or have high subsides as well as those for leisure or tourism.

DCC hope the planned reduction in supported local service will make a total of �1,455,599 in 2011/2012.