Bus service cuts : Reprieve for some early morning journeys, but the rest to go ahead

  Back in July we outlined East Riding Council’s plans to cut the subsidies it provides to bus services across its area by 46%.  We noted the main impact for Hornsea would be on the 246 route to Beverley but that the 220 to Aldborough would also be affected.  The proposals were to scrap early morning and early evening departures and reduce frequency during the middle of the day from one bus an hour to one every 2 hours – to come into effect in April 2017.  Then from April 2018 the Sunday service would reduce to only one bus in either direction all day.  Sunday 220 buses to Aldborough would cease at the same time.   Over the summer the Council embarked on a public consultation exercise on these proposals, involving written responses and drop-in sessions (the one for Hornsea was on 10th August).  Analysis of those responses is now complete and a report has been presented to the Council’s Cabinet.  It notes that there were 1,128 written submissions in total, of which 96% came from bus users. 58% of respondents have no regular access to a car and 66% are concessionary pass holders.  Overall 45% predicted a significant impact on their lives of the cuts going ahead and 37% expected there to be some impact.  The Council also ran a random telephone sample of 1,100 East Riding residents to run alongside.   Following consideration of the evidence provided, the report proposes that 12 services or parts of service initially recommended for removal be retained, and 9 remodelled.  As far as the 246 is concerned, the 6.05 from Hornsea and the 7.00 from Beverley (Monday to Friday) will continue to be funded because of the ‘adverse effects on journeys to work’.  Otherwise the original proposals are to go ahead, although in relation to daytime off-peak services the report does note ‘some adverse effects identified but a 2-hourly service will remain’.  However, ‘no adverse effect identified through the consultation process’ is the verdict on the early evening and Sunday services.   In its response to the report, bus operator EYMS suggests that the 246 timetable ‘will need to be reset to bring service level in line with the commercial resources available’.  But it also predicts a wider impact on its commercial services from the loss of revenue caused by the Council terminating contracts.   Hornsea Parish Transport Champion John Rodgers commented: “There were many objections to these proposals from Hornsea residents and local organisations.  Our drop-in event drew one of the highest attendances of any East Riding Council conducted.  So it is very disappointing that so many of the cuts remain in place, although good news there will still be some early morning journeys vital for those who need them to get to work.  We will just have to see now what EYMS comes up with as they re-jig their timetables”.

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