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Conservatives raise concerns over Green bus cuts

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Conservatives have raised concerns about the proposal by the Green Administration of Brighton & Hove City Council to stop funding 12 bus services in the city, in particular some services that serve the outskirts of the city during the evenings.

Conservative Councillors in Withdean, HovePark, Woodingdean and Rottingdean Coastal Wards have been receiving e-mails from residents who are angry at the proposals to stop funding services such as the 81, the 27, the 52 and the 22. For many residents these services are a lifeline that enables them to access the city centre for both work and leisure. Concern has also been expressed by some parents over the ending of funding for the 96 – the service that transports school children fromCarden Avenueand Westdene to Blatchington Mill and Hove Park Schools. The Greens proposals will be debated at this Thursdays Policy & Resources Committee.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr.Geoffrey Theobald said: This is another piece of hypocrisy from the Greens. They say they want people to leave their cars at home and take public transport yet here they are taking away funding for 12 bus routes. People who want to go out and have a meal in the city centre of an evening for example, will now have to either drive, or be forced to stay at home. Similarly, people from these areas who take the bus to work will now find it difficult to get home as the return services will no longer run in the evening. And the excuse that this is all down to Government cuts is just nonsense. The Council came in 4.4 million under budget last year and the annual income from its parking operation is around 25 million. By contrast, the 81 service for example, which connects the city centre with the Goldstone Valley area, would cost just 38,000 to retain the evening service. Unfortunately, thanks to the Labour Group, the Green Administration now has a casting vote majority on the Policy and Resources Committee and so can push things like this through, whatever the scale of public opposition. We will continue to press them to do yet another u-turn.

Conservative Group Transport Spokesman Cllr. Graham Cox added: I totally support a review of the bus subsidies, particularly if the services are largely unused and there are better ways to spend the money. However, Im not sure that applies to all the services being axed by the Greens. Ideally, I would like to see the Council helping a community minibus service of some kind rather than giving yet more money to the Go Ahead Group which owns the Brighton & Hove Bus Company.