COUNCILLORS will be deciding on cuts to bus services in Poole at a meeting this week (JAN 11).

It follows a consultation carried out in September and October last year. Five services – the 7, 11, 32, 445, and H1 – were earmarked for a reduction in or removal of the bus subsidy from the borough.

The Route and Branch Group was tasked with recommending cuts to the services which would achieve savings of £70,000 for 2018/19.

Borough figures show that in the last financial year it spent £617,000 subsidising bus services, and its forecast for this year is £532,000.

The proposals that have been put before members of the Transport Advisory group following the consultation include axing the 445 service and withdrawing the 6.50am journey of the H1 on Saturdays.

Getting rid of the 445 school bus route between Bearwood/Merley and Allenbourn School in Wimborne will save £24,600 for the council, but it will affect Bearwood pupils who rely on the service.

The service would be replaced by a revised Morebus 4 service with extensions between Wimborne Square and Allenbourn School. However, as stated by the Route and Branch Group, this measure “would not help Bearwood pupils as it would only serve Merley and the route through Merley would result in a requirement for many of the pupils to walk further to their nearest bus stop”.

The group is also asking transport members to “bear in mind” that traffic congestion between Merley and Wimborne is increasing and very few of the borough’s schools now have dedicated school buses.

Cutting the H1’s Saturday service will achieve just over £800 in savings and is not expected to have a high impact on passengers.

The council also hopes to negotiate with bus firms for savings of £30,000 on other subsidised services without changes to routes or timetables.

The three proposals will achieve total savings of around £55,000 - £15,000 short of the £70,000 target.

Members will consider the recommendations at a meeting on Thursday, January 11.

If approved, the service changes would be implemented from the end of May 2018.

Opposition councillor Mike Brooke warned service cuts led to “social isolation” and increased traffic and pollution when the consultation was held.

He added it was an “easy thing to cut” but affected those who should not be experiencing a reduction in services.