Get ready to fight for bus services

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Key bus services serving Thame could lose the extra money they receive from Oxfordshire County Council under plans being put out to consultation this month.

The council currently subsidises 105 bus routes throughout Oxfordshire which aren’t commercially viable to the tune of £3.68m each year.

At a cabinet meeting councillors voted to consult on scrapping all bus subsidies in the county.

The newly expanded Link 40 service between High Wycombe and Thame launched this week on a trial basis after its acquisition from Arriva by Carousel Buses. The company currently receives a partial subsidy of £15,000 to run a route to Towersey village and to serve Lord Williams School.

Luke Marion, finance director of Carousel Buses, said he had “high hopes” of making the service sustainable.

Mr Marion said: “We are closely monitoring the level of ridership and looking at all opportunities available to get more people using our service.

“We are aware of the upcoming consultation on subsidised bus services being held by Oxfordshire County Council and are working with them to identify what services can be maintained on a commercial basis.”

The 120, 121, 123 and 124 operated by Vale Travel could also be affected.

In May officers outlined the proposals to cut £6.3 million from the council’s transport budget by 2018, including the axing of the Dial-a-Ride scheme.

A 12-week consultation on the issue will be launched in mid June.