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September 29 2014.

Norman Baker has criticised ESCC for the package of measures it is seeking to bring forward in the consultation into bus service cuts and fare increases. In an official letter to the council, he calls the measures “…ill thought out, counterproductive, damaging to the local economy and damaging to the social fabric of the county.”.

Now Norman is calling on the County Council to withdraw the proposed package and make efforts to find savings elsewhere, as well as promoting bus services to increase passenger numbers.

The MP has raised concerns that it is the council’s own failings which have led to the need to look at slashing bus services, including not accessing funding opportunities which were made available to them when Norman was a Minister at the Department for Transport.

• Failure to make cuts elsewhere which would contribute to a lesser impact
• Failure to involve bus companies in any meaningful consultation
• Failure to take into proper account rural access to services
• Failure to take into consideration changes which will alter people’s usage of bus services in the near future.
• Failure to apply to available funds to improve services

Norman says: “I am opposed to the package of proposed cuts to my constituency as there are a number of factors which do not appear to have been taken into consideration when identifying the dramatic proposed reduction in service. Nor have there been any real attempts made to promote services to customers prior to seeking cuts in provision.

“Bus services are an integral part of our communities, particularly in rural areas such as ours and I certainly recognise their importance and value. For rural residents who do not have access to other means of transport, the bus line is a life line for work, education and other essential services”