DOZENS of evening buses and the only direct link between Worcester and Redditch are among a series of services under threat of the axe in the city despite being used by thousands of people.
County council bosses have set out plans to cut the £3million it spends annually on subsidising bus services which could see more than 80 routes disappear by September next year, including a number of school services.
Council chiefs say spending up to £8.24 per passenger on routes such as Worcester to Evesham in the evening is not sustainable when the council is facing having to save £32million during 2013/14 alone.
They include the 350 Worcester to Redditch service, which also acts as the only direct service between Worcestershire Royal Hospital and The Alexandra Hospital, and carries 31,595 passengers a year, at a cost of £1.45 per person.
Other routes under threat include bus numbers 30 to 35 in the city on Friday and Sautrday evenings, 31A and 31C Worcester Orbital and Sixways service and the 356 to 358 Droitwich to Worcester route. The First Bus 41 to 43 and 362 to 364 services to Malvern, used by almost 340,000 passengers a year, could also be scrapped.
St John’s councillor Richard Udall, described the move as “crazy”.
“Not only will communities such as Dines Green, Warndon and Ronkswood be completely cut off at night, with the last remaining evening services being removed, but two important bus routes to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital the 31A and 31C will also be removed alongside the popular Sixways to Hospital Route, which is used by many hospital workers,” he said.
“But the problems will get worse. The proposed scrapping of the Perdeswell Park and Ride Service and other bus routes will add at least an extra thousand car journeys a day onto Worcester streets, choking the city and damaging the economy as people will struggle to get to work.
“This is crazy, it will mean the end of public transport in Worcester as we know it.”
Coun John Smith, responsible for highways on the council, said 80 per cent of bus services in the county were commercially operated and the hope was some of the routes would be picked up by bus companies.
He said in other cases they would look to reduce the frequency of a service, increase fares or find a community or voluntary transport group to fill the gap.
The council is legally bound to provide home to school transport and so would have to run replacement services if subsidised routes were not picked up by other operators.
Worcester services at risk:
551 – Evesham – Pershore – Worcester (evenings) – Diamond Bus
356-358 – Droitwich – Tibberton/Himbleton/Crowle – Worcester – Diamond Bus
382 – Worcester – Pershore – Eckington (Friday and Saturday evenings) – First Bus
30-35 – Worcester City Centre (Friday and Saturday evenings) – First Bus
41-43 and 362-364 – Worcester – Upton – Malvern – First Bus
W3 – Sixways – Worcestershire Royal Hospital – WCC Fleet Services
350 – Redditch – Worcester – WCC Fleet Services
26, 27, S27, 308-310 – Worcester – Clifton upon Teme/Battenhall – Astons Coaches
166 – Worcester – Stratford (Sundays) – Diamond Bus
294/295 – Kidderminster – Worcester via Stourport – Diamond Bus
S3 and S4 – Blackpole – Warndon – Blessed Edwards – First Bus
W1 – Perdiswell Park and Ride – WCC Fleet Services
S1 and S2 – Blessed Edwards S1 & S2 – First Bus
31A and 31c – Worcester Orbital and Sixways – First Bus
355 – Droitwich – Fernhill Heath – Claines – Worcester – WCC Fleet Services