Bus routes facing council cutbacks

Bus routes in the district are facing cuts as part of the county council’s plans to save more than £500,000 on community bus services.

The changes being proposed by Leicestershire County Council will affect the number 44 bus service, that runs from Kibworth and Fleckney to Harborough, the 661 bus from Lutterworth to Gilmorton and the district’s Rural Rider routes.

The number 44 will remain the same during peak times, between 7.03am and 9.57 am and 4.16pm to 6.32pm, but will be reduced from a one-hourly service to a two-hourly service during off-peak times.

The Rural Rider will be replaced by a so-called Demand Responsive Transport, where people have to call in advance to book the service, but the council says it will run to a fixed timetable and fares will be similar to local services.

The 661 also faces changes, but the council says it has not yet finalised these as it is awaiting findings from contractors Social Research Associates which is working to “identify needs in the community”.

Peter Osborne, the county council’s cabinet member for transport, said it had held two public consultations before reaching a decision.

He added: “We appreciate these changes will have an impact on passengers and we have changed our original plans for the 44 to improve the morning and evening timetable for workers and students.

“We will make sure the timetables for all of the changed services are publicised and on the buses so passengers are kept informed every step of the way.”

The changes to the 44 and Rural Rider will be introduced at the start of next year.