BUS SERVICES used by thousands of Malvern residents every year are under threat of being axed after Worcestershire County Council agreed to remove funding from more than 90 routes.
On Thursday (November 7) members of the cabinet board agreed to go out to consultation on the proposal which will reduce the council’s annual spending by £3 million.
With funding set to be removed from the services in September next year, the future of the buses including the popular 41 to 43 Malvern to Upton and the 362 to 364 from Upton to Worcester has been cast in doubt.
Those routes are used by nearly 340,000 passengers a year but cost the council £570,000 to subsidise First Buses every 12 months.
A further £85,000 is spent supporting LMS Travel’s Saturday service from Malvern to Gloucester and Cheltenham as well as the routes which serve Alfrick and Suckley.
In total passengers in and around Malvern cost the council around £660,000 every year.
Coun Lucy Hodgson, member of the cabinet and for the Malvern Trinity area, said: “The buses serving Malvern to Upton and Upton to Worcester cost £1.69 per passenger, thats more than half a million pound a year alone.
“Its a commercial route run by one of the bus companies.
“We did this process a couple of years ago and looked at the commercial opportunities.
“Some of the prices were put up by a small amount and made the services viable.
“These are difficult times we have got less money to spend.
“We don’t do this lightly but if it means a core service doesn’t have to be reduced then we’ve got to do it.
“But we need as many people as possible to engage in the consultation.”
The public consultation on the proposals is set to begin on November 22 until January which will be followed by a further report brought to the cabinet in February.
Increasing fairs, encouraging bus providers to take on the services and looking at voluntary schemes are all possibilities under consideration by the council.