Peterborough bus routes which may see reduced service revealed

A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough
A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough
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Bus routes in Peterborough which may see a reduced service due to council cutbacks have been revealed.

Peterborough City Council announced in October it was planning to cut £150,00 from its £715,000 budget for subsidising bus routes run by Stagecoach which are “commercially unviable”.

The potential routes which could be affected were not announced, but a report published on the council’s website has highlighted potential changes to the 60, 61, 62 and 63 services, as well as to the number 5 service.

The council said the proposals for the 60-63 services have been put forward by Stagecoach but have not yet been considered.

The council’s budget document which first outlined the potential cuts said: “Under used services operating on Sunday evenings and Bank Holiday Mondays may be withdrawn or operated with a reduced timetable if these proposals are approved”.

But the proposals from Stagecoach would see:

. Route 60 (which provides links between the Ortons and Stanground to Hampton Tesco) withdrawn on Saturdays with an extra journey provided at 3.39pm on

Mondays to Fridays.

. Route 61 (which provides links between the city centre, Eastern Industry and Showcase Cinema) withdrawn on Saturdays. In addition, it suggests the journey at 5.34am and services 6.39pm would be withdrawn, but it is not stated on the council’s report which day(s) this would be.

. Route 62 (which provides a link between Maxey, Newborough and Peterborough, and provides a local link in the Paston and Dogsthorpe areas) withdrawn at 5.09am, 7.55pm and 11.15pm, with current services retained between 7.10am and 6.52pm.

. Route 63 (which links Peterborough city centre, Newark and Parnwell Quays) withdrawn on Saturday with the Monday to Friday service retained.

The council also subsidises bus services on routes Citi 1 to Citi 6 after 8.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and after 5.30pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

The authority’s report said: “Officers have undertaken initial discussions with Stagecoach to explore potential options to reduce the overall subsidy for these services.

“At this stage this involves requesting and analysing data from Stagecoach to ascertain, for example, whether any of the routes could now be considered commercially viable, stopped at an earlier time in the evening, delivered differently to reduce the operating cost.”

Stagecoach has proposed a revised timetable for the Citi 5 Service to provide some savings, but this has not been revealed.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “The city council subsidises routes that are not commercially viable without public funding. So if there is a cut in subsidy we simply wouldn’t be able to keep the service running to the same timetable as before.

“The city council asked us to propose a revised timetable for the Citi 5 service which would help them to save money but still continue to serve the same areas, all with the least disruption to customers.

“The council is still considering our proposal and therefore, at the present time, no revised timetable has been agreed.”

The vote on the bus subsidy cut will be voted on by councillors at Full Council on Wednesday as part of the wider budget setting process.

But the cuts will not be decided upon until after any decision is taken.

Cllr Nick Sandford, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “Our Tory council leaders know that when people hear that their local bus service is being cut, they might be pretty angry about it.

“So why not push the budget cut through on December 12 and only afterwards reveal the true impacts? So then when people then start protesting they will be told it is too late and the decision has already been made.”

In 2017/18 there were 91,659 trips on the 60-63 services, at a cost of £320,549. The council said it was subsidising £3.50 per journey, compared to £2.59 per journey in 2015/16.

In 2016 the authority put in an extra £100,000 per year into those services, but it said “passenger numbers provided by Stagecoach show that the 48 per cent additional investment has resulted in just a 9.8 per cent increase in the number of trips”.

A council spokesman said a decision on which services will be affected will made after “consultation with users, ward councillors and cross party working group members”.

Before then the authority will:

. Undertake an analysis of the ticket type purchased by users of the buses.

. Carry out surveys with passengers travelling on timetabled routes where changes are proposed.

. Explore other existing contracts to see if there is the opportunity to achieve additional savings without affecting service provision.

. Seek suggestions for other services/routes that could be considered and analysed further to ascertain the potential for change.

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