Improving our roads, Transport

Chance to help shape bus services in Surrey

Surrey County Council is set to launch the third phase of a bus review that has already seen passengers have their say on shaping services while also saving £2.5 million.

The final stage of the review, covering Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley, Guildford and Waverley, starts on 1 November.

A public consultation will run until 31 January to find out what people think of a series of proposals put forward to change the way bus services are run.

Ian Lake, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “It is vital that we offer the best possible services for as many people as we can while giving Surrey taxpayers maximum value for money.

“Surrey’s bus services became a hotch potch of different routes over the years, which has resulted in full buses on some routes and empty ones on others. This review is an opportunity to go back to the drawing board to make sure services are run where they are needed most.

“In 2009 it cost us £11 million to subsidise public bus routes and it would cost us £13 million by 2012 without action.

“It is only right that bus passengers help us change services and I thank those who have already been involved and look forward to hearing from people during this consultation.”

When the countywide review was launched two years ago, the council subsidised three out of four of the 250 services in Surrey because bus operators believed they were not commercially viable. On some routes the council was paying around £20 to subsidise a single return journey.

The subsidy for public bus services in Surrey tripled in the eight years from 2001, leaving taxpayers to pick up the bill. By 2009, the cost was £11 million and it would have reached £13m by 2012 without action being taken.

After the review’s first phase*, five new Sunday services were included in the timetable because residents said they wanted them introduced and £1.7m was also saved for taxpayers. The second stage** saw more buses running on routes where demand was strong and fewer services where use was lower while saving £800,000.

In both cases, the changes were shaped by the views of residents.

The full details of the proposals and information on ways for people to find our more or give their views can be found at www.surreycc.gov.uk/busreview. They are also available in Surrey’s libraries or by calling 03456 009009.

If agreed, any changes would take place from September 2012.

Ends

For more information contact senior media relations officer Kevin Richardson on 0208 541 7267 or email kevin.richardson@surreycc.gov.uk.

* Covering Elmbridge, Runnymede, Spelthorne, east Woking and Reigate and Banstead.

** In Surrey Heath, west Woking (including some services in Guildford) and Tandridge.

The sessions to find out more are being held at the following libraries (10am to 1pm): Leatherhead, 23 November; Epsom, 25 November; Dorking, 28 November; Ashtead, 30 November; Guildford, 1 December; Godalming, 6 December; Farnham, 7 December; Haslemere, 9 December. A session is being held at Fetcham Village Hall on 21 November, also between 10am and 1pm.

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