01:30PM, Thursday 06 April 2017
‘If I have to break banks, I will break banks’ was the message from the Royal Borough’s bus champion, who has assured residents there will be no loss in service after existing routes are scrapped by Courtney Buses.
Last month the Advertiser reported several key bus routes, including services 8, 16 and 16A, had been put out to tender.
Courtney Buses, which operated the service, said it could no longer continue running ‘loss-making’ routes after the Royal Borough cut a subsidy.
Bus champion Cllr Hari Sharma (Con, Furze Platt) said: “We want to invest more into our transport network and bus operation – there is going to be a better service.
“I’ve been in the transport industry for 20-30 years, I know buses are important and a lifeline for elderly residents.
“I know how important it is we have a good service. We can’t raise taxpayers’ money so we have to change people’s expectations and needs; this means sometimes we have to change the route.”
Cllr Sharma, whose council declarations of interest say he is a bus driver for First/Beeline, said there were ‘quite a few’ companies interested in the bus routes.
A spokesman from the council confirmed that a report on the tendering process would be brought to cabinet on Thursday, April 27.
The Courtney routes are due to be withdrawn after Saturday, April 29.
He said: “We are committed to making sure that the borough’s public transport network remains fit for purpose now and in the future and it is a central part of our wider infrastructure plans to complement regeneration and the emerging Borough Local Plan.
“Residents can be assured their valued bus network is not going to suddenly stop at the end of the month and we are working together with bus operators to make sure these services continue.”
Courtney has confirmed it has reached an agreement with the Royal Borough for a temporary extension to services 8, 16 and 16A until the tendering process is completed.
A spokesman said: "After April 29, these services will continue to operate to the existing timetable, and until further notice. This will not affect the changes we have already registered to the remaining network."
Other timetable changes which will go ahead include timetable changes to services 4/4A, 238/239, a new timetable for services 7/7B, a new route and timetable for service 5 and a new service 9 to replace the withdrawn part of service 5.
Visit www.courtneybuses.com for more information.
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