A revised list of Thanet Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS) which Kent County Council proposes to cut in a bid to save £4million has been released – and two Thanet routes have been removed.
The authority needs to make the 70% reduction in its SNBS budget between 2018-2020.
It now says there are 78 services, not 74 as KCC previously stated, facing a withdrawal of funding, but among these only one route is in Thanet. A spokesman admitted an error had been made and that the list published in KCC papers was out of date.
A statement issued tonight by Kent County Council cabinet member for highways Matthew Balfour says: “The contracts under discussion could refer to the whole service, some evening journeys, weekend journeys, diversions off of the route or journeys at specific times.
“The proposal has identified bus contracts, supported by KCC, which, subject to consultation, could be withdrawn – it does not necessarily mean the whole service will go as a number of them are run by commercial companies and KCC has no bearing on how these operate.
“At present it is proposed to reduce the budget for Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS) by £4 million over the coming two years at a time when budgets are extremely tight.
“If agreed by members, a decision will then be made as to whether to proceed with the proposals and put them out to consultation in January.
“However, we recognise the significant importance of these bus contracts affected by the proposals which account for 1.6 million journeys.
“Supporting SNBS – which make up 3% of Kent’s buses – is a discretionary activity by the county council – there is no statutory requirement to provide the funds for these bus services to run.
“We would encourage anyone affected by these proposals to take part, if agreed on Thursday, in the consultation to ensure your views are known before a final decision is made later next year.”
The services in Thanet proposed for removal in the original list were the 38, 38A Palm Bay – Ramsgate – Manston – Birchington, the 42, 42A Monkton – Ramsgate and the 36 Herne Bay – Margate / QEQM Hospital.
But the revised list shows only the 42, 42A Monkton – Ramsgate service.
If Cabinet members agree the proposals to withdraw services when they meet on Thursday (November 30), a public consultation will take place from January 17, 2018 until March 27, 2018.
Consultation could mean amendments to the proposals which would be made in April 2018 and finalised by the Cabinet committee members in May 2018.
In June 2018 contract withdrawal notices will go to operators running the routes that are eventually agreed for the axe with the end of those services coming into effect from September 2018.