The Authority has also re-stated its commitment to protecting the £0.9million provided for community transport services such as Dial-a-Ride.
The Local Authority supports over 80 bus routes across Hampshire that are not commercially viable and which would not operate without the County Council subsidy. Under the revised proposals 33 will now see no change and a further 40 will continue to operate on the same day as now but with a slightly reduced frequency - with no community that is currently served by a bus service, losing a service altogether.
Leader of the County Council, Councillor Roy Perry said: “I’d like to emphasise how carefully we have looked at each and every bus route to minimise the impact of any changes on communities.
“For elderly people in particular who may no longer be able to drive, a bus service remains very important. I am pleased to note that Hampshire is one of the few parts of the country where bus usage is actually increasing with bus use close to a 20 year high, and I applaud the bus companies that operate modern, responsive and forward looking services. I have been pleased to note, for example in my local Romsey Rural Division, the No 66 Service from Romsey to Winchester which at one time was a service at risk now diverts to include the new Abbotswood development. That is good flexibility on the part of the bus company.
“Robust passenger numbers is the key to sustainable public transport in the future. To help achieve this, we continue to work with the bus operators on improvements such as contactless payments and on-board wi-fi, encouraging more people to try bus travel.
“In addition, we also continue to press the case to Government that, as important as the Freedom Bus pass is for elderly residents, it would make sense to allow a small token charge to cover the administration costs so that we have more funds to support bus services. A free bus with no bus service is no use at all.”