Bus services involving routes taking in Ashby, Measham and Coalville face being axed by Leicestershire County Council | Local News | News
Up to 26 bus routes across Leicestershire – including Ashby and Measham – face the ax as Leicestershire County Council says it can no longer afford to keep them running.
The services were all subsidized by the council as traditionally they have not been used by enough passengers for an operator to make money. But the City Council has an £88million hole in its budget and says it now needs to make £1million worth of savings on bus travel alone.
Services to Leicester, Loughborough, Market Harborough, Birstall, Syston, Thurmaston, Coalville, Melton and Measham are all under fire and could be phased out as early as August.
Ann Curruthers, the council’s director for environment and transport, promised that if a service were to cease, no one would be left without access to essentials like supermarkets and healthcare. “It’s not going to leave people dry,” she said.
“We will take care of the essentials. [But]Unfortunately the harsh reality for us as Leicestershire County Council is that we are unable to offer choice for all purposes of travel or all destinations that people may wish to visit.
“It would be great if we could, be it for work, employment or leisure. We understand that people don’t always want to go to the nearest local centre, they may want to go to Leicester or another larger market town. But, unfortunately, we are not financially able to subsidize bus routes to meet the needs across the county.”
The people of Leicestershire have already seen a number of cuts in reliable bus services. Arriva halted the X55 route between Hinckley and Leicester in October, while Skylink also canceled a number of Leicestershire services.
Kinchbus also faced criticism after it announced that its Loughborough-Leicester buses would not pass Sileby, as commuters from some villagers would now have to travel to Loughborough just to catch another bus to Leicester.
And 159 service between Hinckley and Coalville will also end this month after the Borough Council cut funding, leaving some villages without the only bus that has stopped in them.
The new services being considered for the ax will be judged on a number of criteria, including cost to the agency, how many people live in the community it serves, whether there is another bus service in the area and why people use it. The council will then decide whether to continue funding the route, make changes to the service such as frequency, travel times or route, or discontinue altogether.
Reviews of the first eight routes potentially facing the ax are almost complete. A consultation phase with the affected communities is expected to begin in spring or summer.
As an alternative to bus services, the Council will consider the provision of “demand-driven transport” – which would involve the use of a local taxi service that can book a ride on certain days at a cost similar to a bus fare. However, Ms Curruthers said this would likely only be offered two or three days a week.
Leicestershire County Council Cabinet members will discuss plans for the services at their meeting on Friday 10 February. Here is a complete list of routes that will be checked:
- Service 3, between Tynedale Road and Loughborough
- Service 13 between Tuckers Road and Loughborough
- Service 22B operates between Leicester and Birstall on Saturdays
- Serve seven between Fenny Drayton and Measham
- Service 27 between Thurmaston and Loughborough
- Service 125 between Leicester, Coalville and Castle Donington
- Service 154 between Leicester and Loughborough
- Service 747 between Leicester and Uppingham
Round two – Melton
- Service 14 between Melton Mowbray Town Service, Queensway and Tamar Road
- Service 15 between Melton Mowbray Town Service and Dieppe Way
- Service eight between Loughborough and Melton Mowbray
- Service 55 between Melton Mowbray and Grantham
- Service 100 between Melton Mowbray and Syston
- Service 23 between Melton Mowbray and Bottesford
- Service 25 between Melton Mowbray and Stathern
- Service X6 between Bingham and Grantham via Muston
Round three – Harborough
- Line 30 between Market Harborough and Southern Estate
- Service 33, Market Harborough’s town service
- Service 44 between Fleckney, Market Harborough and Foxton
- Service 58 between Lutterworth and Market Harborough
- Service 129 between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough
Round four – Hinckley
- Service eight between Hinckley and Lutterworth
- Service X84 between Leicester and Lutterworth on Saturdays
- Service 6/6A/7 between Burbage and Nuneaton
- X6 between Leicester and Coventry