Published: 19:45, 28 November 2017
County transport chiefs have played down fears that vital community bus services will disappear completely as part of swingeing budget cuts.
It follows confusion over a list published by the council detailing more than 70 bus routes that the council subsidises because they are not commercially viable but were under threat because the council needed to save £4 million.
Cllr Matthew Balfour, KCC cabinet member for highways, said: “A report will be going to Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on Thursday with a proposal for members of the committee to discuss going out to consultation.
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“The contracts under discussion could be support for the whole service, some evening journeys, weekend journeys, diversions off of the route or specific journeys.
“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.
"We recognise the significant importance of these bus contracts affected by the proposals which account for 1.6 million journeys.
"The proposal has identified bus contracts, supported by KCC, which, subject to consultation, could be withdrawn – it does not necessarily mean the whole service will go.
The routes in full
“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."
It is understood that while the authority might end its subsidy for certain parts of services, operators may well continue to run them during times that they are likely to be commercially viable.
A report on the cost-cutting measures says KCC will save £2m next year and £2m the year after.
For a full list of services affected click here
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