COUNCIL bosses have defended their decision to cut bus service funding.
The evening service between Gloucester and Hereford is the latest to face the axe as budgets tighten.
Herefordshire Council subsidises the 32/33 service – which has recorded a decline in passenger numbers – and needs to save £1million before April 2016.
A spokesman for the council said: “Public services are facing significant financial pressure as central Government reduces funding to local authorities as part of austerity measures. Facing significant cuts in our budget, we are reviewing all activities.
“We have been working closely with bus operators to explore how we can make savings through more efficient services and journey planning. However, it is difficult to achieve £1m purely through efficiencies. Therefore, we have had to consider withdrawing subsidy for some services.
“We appreciate the impact this will have for some commuters and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The authority says it subsides 39 per cent of bus journeys each year to the tune of £1.6m and a further £1.4m is spent to reimburse bus operators for concessionary travel.
Changes by Stagecoach, which will also see improvements to services within Gloucester, will come into effect from Sunday.
There have also been a number of timetable changes to service 34, but the company says the overall frequency has improved.
Gloucester’s services 2, 2A, 6, 7, 8, 91 and school bus 804 have also been revised, following customer feedback.
The route of service 13 will also be amended to incorporate Abbeymead Avenue. Buses will now operate from the bus station via Metz Way, Eastern Avenue, Painswick Road, Wheatway and Abbeymead Avenue with the service terminating at the junction with Coney Hill Road. A Stagecoach spokesman said: “With the additional route of service 13 taking in much of Abbeymead Avenue offering a connection for Abbeymead Avenue and the Glevum Centre, we felt the best option was to offer the smaller loop around Upton St Leonard’s which will save some journey time between the city centre and Upton St Leonard's.”
Conservative Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for transport, said: “We’ve replaced the Stagecoach 35 service that runs between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth via Coleford. James Bevan Coaches will run the journeys with H&H Motors adding an early morning service into Ross.
“Also to provide more choice and flexibility to customers, the 782 service from Cinderford to Ross will now run every weekday instead of once a week.”