HAMPSHIRE County Council is consulting residents to help decide subsidies for public transport, including stopping retired people using their passes before 9.30am.

A review of bus and community transport services that receive financial support from the council is underway to collect the views and preferences of both passengers and the wider community.

Hampshire County Council needs to reduce spending by between £1.25m and £1.5m from public and community transport spending as part of the 12 per cent overall savings the council needs to make, as a result of its Government grant being cut by 43 per cent over four years.

The council spends £4.7million on supporting bus services and ferries that are not commercially viable for private operators to run.

A further £1m is spent on supporting community transport services, and £13.4m on the national concessionary fares scheme.

Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “We need to look very carefully at where our funding goes, and ensure that this properly reflects community priorities and represents the best value for money, which is why we are once again consulting extensively on options before we make any final decisions.”

He added: “The free bus pass scheme currently includes a local enhancement so that older people in Hampshire can use their passes from 9am, rather than 9.30am, which is the national standard.

It is right that we should consider whether to retain this extra feature, which costs around £300,000 per annum as part of this overall review.”

A number of other options are being considered to achieve these savings, which include:

  • Reducing or ceasing support for Sunday services.
  • Reducing or ceasing support for evening services after 7pm.
  • Reducing the frequency and/or days of service.
  • Replacing bus services with taxi shares or community transport services.
  • Reducing the amount of printed timetables and other public transport information with a greater use of electronic information.

Details of the consultation are available at www.hants.gov.uk/transportconsultation2014.