More bus cuts in April

Further cuts to Hertfordshire’s bus services in April are likely because the County Council is considering withdrawing funding for them. The 142 from Watford to Brent Cross, the 292 from Borehamwood to Colindale, the 298 from Potters Bar to Arnos Grove, the 107 from Edgware to New Barnet, and the 258 from Watford Junction to South Harrow are the routes that could be affected.

These routes are run by Transport for London (TfL) but according to Conservative councillor Derrick Ashley, Hertfordshire Council’s cabinet member for transport, they only serve “a small number of southern Hertfordshire destinations”.

Hertfordshire currently provides £390,000 to TfL each year to subsidise the five bus routes and the council claims that spending this money on these services is “no longer justifiable”.

Save Our Buses Hertfordshire says that the cuts would magnify the misery being felt by vulnerable passengers. Our spokeswoman, Alina Congreve, said: “This is on top of the £1.5 million being slashed from the county’s bus budget last year. These cuts to bus services will magnify the misery already being felt by vulnerable Hertfordshire residents as they find yet more places and services are no longer available to them.

Councillor Derrick Ashley said: “Our three-year agreement with TfL expires in April 2016 and we have informed TfL that we are considering withdrawing the support. We are waiting for their response and we hope an amicable solution can be found that has minimal impact on these important bus links.”

Transport for London responded by saying that it was aware of changes being made to subsidies for bus services in counties neighbouring Greater London and would continue to review the bus network as usual. “Where any changes are proposed to the services we run, TfL carries out stakeholder and public consultation,” TfL added.

There is no sign yet that Hertfordshire County Council will be holding a consultation.