The review is being carried out as part of wider plans to help Wiltshire Council save millions of pounds over the next three years. Half of the bus mileage in the county is subsidised with £5.1 million per year from Wiltshire Council as it is not commercially viable otherwise. The rest of the services in Wiltshire are operated on a commercial basis by various operators.
Philip Whitehead, cabinet member for transport said: “We know how important bus services are for rural communities – especially to help people maintain their independence, however due to the pressures on local authority spending we under severe pressure to reduce the amount of budget that we spend on subsidising public transport at the level we currently do. “We are committed to minimising any impact changes might have, especially on vulnerable people including those who are elderly, disabled and young. We really do want to hear from people who could be affected by any changes to the current services, and we will be doing everything we can to act on those comments.”
The consultation can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/subsidised-bus-services-consultation. Paper copies can be picked up in council offices, libraries, on buses operating contracted services, or people can call 0300 456 0100 to have one posted to them. It runs from 11 January to 4 April.
The review will also consider how community transport might be able to assist with public transport, and will be accompanied by continuing work to identify savings in other areas of the council’s passenger transport spending. Once the consultation ends, a report will go to Wiltshire Council’s cabinet members to make a decision.