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Bid to save Brighton and Hove bus routes
Scores of people have signed petitions opposing the ending of subsidies to bus routes.
About 12 services to hospitals, schools and outlying areas would be scrapped or reduced under Brighton and Hove City Council plans.
The local authority made the announcement last week and believes it can save about £230,000 a year as looks to combat Government-imposed cuts.
It added it will continue spending about £900,000 on a further 17 loss-making routes in the city from September.
However, parents, schoolchildren, elderly residents and political opponents have started a range of petitioners opposing the move before a decision is made tomorrow.
Among the most controversial is the ending of the 96 which connects Hollingbury, Patcham and Westdene with schools in Hove and the 52 which links Ovingdean and Woodingdean with the city centre.
Mother-of-two Lisa Williams, of Eldred Avenue, Brighton, said her two children who attend Hove Park School had been collecting signatures on the bus asking for it to be maintained.
She said: “Where’s the logic of cutting a bus that is full? Without it children would have to get two buses to school in the morning which would take them an hour and a half.”
Jason Kitcat, the chairman of the council’s policy and resources committee, said: “Of course we will take the views of residents into consideration when making our final decision, but cuts in government funding and rising costs for bus companies has reduced the ability of local councils nationally to financially support bus networks and this is reflected by some local authorities reducing budgets by half.”
A petition started by Tracey Hill, of Brighton and Hove Labour Party, asks for all the subsidies to be reintroduced.
About 100 people had signed yesterday and campaigners are hoping to get 1,250 signatures by July 19 so the issue will have to be debated at the local authority’s full council meeting.
Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “These petitions sum up the strength of public feeling out there.
“It is complete hypocrisy to whack up parking charges and lecture residents about the importance of not using their cars but at the same time to cut back on one of the main alternatives.”
A decision on the bus routes will take place a meeting in Hove Town Hall on Thursday at 4pm.
The following services in Brighton and Hove are set to stop:
21B, 27, 81A, 26, 22 and 24 which run after 6pm on Sundays between September and May (saving £51,000 per annum)
74 on school days from Lewes Road via Bevendean and Coldean to Patcham (£34,000)
52 from the city centre via the Royal Sussex to Ovingdean and Woodingdean (£63,000). Sunday services will continue with the 57. A new contract will operate from Brighton Marina to Ovingdean and Woodingdean, Monday to Saturday. Users will have to change buses either at the marina or on the coast road in Ovingdean
81 Monday to Saturday evenings from Old Steine to Goldstone Valley (£43,000)
96 on school days from Carden Avenue via Westdene to Blatchington Mill School (£38,000)
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