Future Provision of Subsidised Bus Services in Staffordshire
All bus journeys in our county are operated by either private bus companies or by voluntary and community groups and over 90% are not subsidised by the county council. The rest of the bus journeys are subsidised by the county council and therefore taxpayers. In some cases this can be as much as 10 pounds every time a passenger boards the bus, which isn't sustainable in the current climate.
By 2020/21, our government grant will fall to zero so only critical county council services will be funded by local council tax and business rates. We need to protect those services that we have a legal duty to provide - such as adult social care and looking after children in care - so last year the decision was made to review the amount we can continue to pay towards bus travel.
While some councils have stopped subsidising bus travel altogether - we are not doing that. Although there will be less money to subsidise bus journeys next year, 1.3 million pounds will still be available. We have developed four proposed options of how to spend this money on subsidised bus travel between April 2018 and April 2019.
We really want your views on our proposed options and also about local voluntary and community schemes in your area and whether you are already involved in providing transport or would be interested in running a new scheme.
This consultation only affects public bus and Dial-A-Ride journeys which are subsidised by taxpayers and not those run by operators on a fully commercial basis.
This consultation has now closed. Many thanks to all those who responded.
What will happen next?
Now that the consultation has ended we will consider the views of local people and organisations and Cabinet will make the final decision in Autumn 2017 about which option, if any, will be implemented. Any changes to subsidised bus journeys will take place from April 2018.