Hampshire County Council: Scrap community transport cuts

Hampshire County Council: Scrap community transport cuts

9 June 2022
Signatures: 104Next Goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

Started by Julia Warner

Hampshire County Council are proposing extensive cuts to community funded transport.   

The proposals can be found at:
Transport Consultation

Although the consultation document expressly rules out keeping services as they are and only asks respondents what should be cut more, we urge Hampshire to reconsider this.

We are concerned about the proposals to:

Cut funding for community bus routes (proposal 1) which provide vital links to amenities like town centres and doctors’ surgeries. 

Reduce funding for minibus hire, (proposal 2) which will significantly burden charities and voluntary groups whose budgets are stretched.

• Withdraw taxi vouchers from people who are unable to use a bus or who are unable to travel alone (proposal 3). Especially in combination with proposed cuts to bus routes, this could leave disabled people unable to access healthcare.

• Stop concessionary bus pass holders from using their bus pass to access services such as DialARide, TaxiShare and Call and Go (proposal 4) either as a full payment or a discount. 

• Implement a minimum £6 fee for Dial-a-Ride (proposal 6), which will see the cost nearly double in some parts of the county.

• Substantially increase the fee to replace a lost or damaged bus pass from £14 to £20 (proposal 7).

The cumulative effect of the proposals in the consultation will be to reduce community bus services and to increase the financial burden on elderly and disabled people during a cost-of-living crisis. More than half of the £800,000 cut will come in the form of reduced support for community bus routes, meaning less frequent services. We are concerned that isolation and loneliness will result.

Community transport is being considered for reduced support based on passenger use figures from 2021/2022. These figures are skewed by changes to travel habits during the pandemic and may not reflect the true nature of demand for these services. With changes due to take effect from early 2023, we question whether these decisions will be made based upon unreliable data. 

Hampshire has declared a climate emergency and pledged to act accordingly. Making public transport less frequent and less convenient conflicts with this objective and will only encourage greater car use. Moreover, reducing bus services will not help small businesses and our high streets who are trying to recover from the pandemic. 

The impact of these cuts will fall disproportionately upon those who are least able to pay, the elderly and the disabled. Some of the proposals will make things much harder for people while being unlikely to raise any significant income. We believe this is as unfair as it is illogical.

While we recognise that local councils are facing financial pressure, we believe that Hampshire should fight harder for adequate funding from the government before cutting essential services. The cuts to council funding are as much a political choice as the decision to write off £4 billion of fraudulent covid loans.

For these reasons we call on Hampshire County Council to scrap the proposed cuts.

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Signatures: 104Next Goal: 200
Support now