Cuts to services and travel concessions will be devastating, say campaigners

The Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users’ Group say the proposed package of proposed cuts to services and concessions amounts to the most serious and possibly irreversible damage to public transport on the Island seen for decades.

Bus Stop:

This in from David Rogers from the Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users’ Group (IWBRUG). Ed


IWBRUG has been made aware by representatives of the Isle of Wight Council and by Southern Vectis of massive cuts to bus services planned for 2015.

Also some travel concessions currently benefitting some of the most vulnerable Isle of Wight residents, including people with disability or mental health issues, are set to be withdrawn.

Not protecting the most vulnerable
If the proposed cuts, which are to be considered at the meeting of the Isle of Wight Council Executive on 13 January, go through, then it could result in many local communities being left isolated without a bus service and could well see a knock-on effect of the additional withdrawal of current commercial services operated by Southern Vectis.

People with disability or mental health issues will be hit by the withdrawal of travel concessions that they have enjoyed for 30 years.

David Rogers, Secretary of IWBRUG said,

“This package of proposed cuts to services and concessions amounts to the most serious and possibly irreversible damage to public transport on the Island seen for decades, and we encourage not just bus users, but also those who care about the social well-being of people with disability or mental health issues, to bring pressure upon the Council to stop these cruel cuts.”

The proposals
Details of the Council proposals are noted below…..

All of the proposed cuts are totally against the Isle of Wight Council’s stated policy to protect the most vulnerable people on the Island. These are not mere cuts but a total removal of all non-statutory public transport funding.

Community Bus Services
This proposal would see the withdrawal of funding for Community Bus Services and alternative means of community provision initiated where possible.

This process has already begun with cuts from 5th January to all Community Bus Services. The Council’s hope is that Parish Councils will make new arrangements for these services. Our belief is that this will lead to fragmentation of services and further service losses in places not served by the Southern Vectis Network.

Subsidised Bus Services
This proposal would see the withdrawal of funding to support local bus services deemed to be uneconomic by the service provider.

The withdrawal of subsidised bus services is likely to destabilise the present network and leave many people of all ages without a bus service. Many vulnerable people would be, to all intents and purposes, trapped in their homes. It is our belief that some services will be lost and many areas will have few or no buses. The Council clearly have no idea what we shall be losing as they are leaving cuts to the operator.

Concessionary Fares/discretionary
This proposal would limit availability of the concessionary fares scheme to the statutory scheme only. This would mean withdrawing the local concession provided to those with a pass issued on the grounds of disability to travel at any time, and the local Islander Card scheme subject to consultation and equality impact assessment.

Disabled persons have had concessions at all times of the day, every day for over 30 years. This would affect many of the most vulnerable people on the Island. It also may reduce the income of Islandline as the franchise period comes to its end.

Renegotiation of Concessionary Fares to DFT scheme
This proposal requires notice to be given on the current concessionary fares scheme with a view to moving towards the standard Department for Transport (DfT) scheme. A new concessionary fares scheme has been prepared and notice on the current scheme was given on 1st December 2014. The council will enter into a period of negotiation with the bus service provider which may effect the actual proposed saving.

This is an attempt by the Council to reduce the amount which they pay to operators of bus services for each concessionary journey.

It should be borne in mind that the majority of this money is provided by central government.

Image: curns under CC BY 2.0

Saturday, 10th January, 2015 2:03pm

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Filed under: Budget Cuts, Bus, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Travel

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38 Comments on "Cuts to services and travel concessions will be devastating, say campaigners"

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sylvia richardson

how can the council let this happen , people with bus passes , disabled people , people whos only escape from the house is on the bus ,how can they be left cut off in their own homes . we have been cut to 2 days a week that’s bad enough disgusting in fact

Vix Lowthion
This is going to be another devastating cut for the most vulnerable people we have in our community. I assume it is because national government cuts to our council grant and budget means we can only afford those services which are deemed as ‘statutory’ – and public transport for people with disabilities isn’t described as such. The sweeping austerity cuts on paper are becoming a reality. It… Read more »
tiki

Let’s see your manifesto Vix. All very well saying ‘vote Green’

Vix Lowthion

I’m not aware of any party’s specific manifesto being launched just yet. In the meantime, the long list of Green Party policies are available on the national web site.

(and I haven’t said ‘Vote Green’. Issues like this are much bigger than just one party or politician)

Ali Hayden.
This is just the start of hard-hitting cuts. The Isle Of Wight has amongst the highest proportion of elderly residents in the country. Our hospital is at breaking point. We have a higher than average amount of children + families living in poverty on the Island. Our public parks + gardens will be lucky to have even the grass cut this coming summer. Our award winning beaches… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

That implies there is no solution. Which I cannot accept.

We have vicious cuts because we have a government who believe that austerity and not chasing after tax dodgers is the answer. They believe that these bus services are Not Essential and not Statutory. I disagree strongly with that. I believe many others agree with me.

davidwalter

I don’t believe the Government believes any of that, Vix. There is a huge number of people in all the main parties who are very green indeed. I’m keeping an eye on the Hoegh Osaka on AIS. It seems to have moved back to the west again. Unless they are just dragging it round like Mitzy Gaynor’s dead cat it’s not under control.

Vix Lowthion
David – the Green Party is not just about green issues. You can be green with a small g and be a member of other parties… though the emphasis they place on green issues will be less. This government certainly and absolutely believes in austerity cuts above public services. They see the solution to our financial state is cut cut cut public services and local government funding,… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

(Tax payer money isn’t spent on election campaigns. If it was – I actually might have some real funding)

Geoff Lumley

Very true Vix. The main parties only spend the money they raise themselves. There is no state funding of political campaigning in this country. Get your facts right Alison.

Cynic
There *should* be state funding of election campaigns otherwise the political party wth the biggest war-chest wins – as always happens in US elections In the US since a recent controversial Supreme Court decision, there is no limit to how much corporations can donate to its favoured political party, so political advantage goes to the highest bidder (Big Pharma, the armaments industry, health industry, finance industry, lawyers… Read more »
Ali Hayden.

Am I correct in thinking that Election campaigns are funded by donations from either; Bussinesses, Companies, Membership Fees orTrade Unions?
Is this not tax-payers money?

Vix Lowthion

No its not. It’s money from people who are citizens and thus people who are tax payers. But it isn’t funded by resources gleaned from taxation. People (largely. .. union donations an anomaly) make a free choice to donate to a political party. Taxation is when you have to pay.

There is no public funding of political parties in the UK.

Cynic

Erm! It seems that political parties suggest that major donations contributed in terms of shares rather than cash as it is more tax effient for donor and donee.

Norman Jones

Correct Alison, same horse, different jockey.

Geoff Lumley

No !

Ian Young

No anomaly with Trade Unions Vix, individual members choose to contribute or not contribute to a Political Fund, which everyone knows is used for political campaigning.

Don’t fall into trap of believing there are votes to be gained for the Green Party in seeming anti Trade Union.

Vix Lowthion

I wasn’t. And I’m not.

Vix Lowthion

Thank you for reminding me that the changes went through.

Anon Again

What a strange argument @ali-hayden. That means that every penny spent by every person who pays taxes can be classed as “taxpayers money”. So if I buy myself an ice-cream I am “spending tax-payers money”. Which renders the phrase meaningless. You could always just admit you were wrong rather than trying to pivot on a sixpence!

Anon Again

@vix – I am not sure what you mean by “the changes went through” – the situation referred to (union members being able to decide whether to pay into a political fund or not) went through about 25 years ago. Probably longer ago than that!

Vix Lowthion

Oop sorry that was one member one vote re Unions!
The legal right to opt out of Labour party funding when you join a Union is there certainly. But reportedly half the Unions fail to tell new members this. Unions still donate almost £20 million to the party.

(This will teach me to try and post when in Jolly Rogers)

Anon Again

One Member One Vote went through donkeys years ago too! :) Ed Miliband has (fairly recently)put through some radical changes in union political donations to the Labour Party. I wish people took as much interest in which businesses, hedge fund managers etc make donations to the Conservative Party as they do in trade union activity. Too much to hope for I suppose.

Vix Lowthion
(Am badly referring to Miliband and the electoral college – not what John Smith did 20yrs ago) And I completely agree that a much bigger issue than donations from Unions are donations from businesses and corporations. Just looking at who gives donations from health care and logistics companies alone make that one clear. Unions are voters and people with jobs who have a belief that there is… Read more »
Anon Again

@vix – and on that we can totally agree Vix :) Truly terrifying and somehow never really highlighted properly no matter how hard people try.

Mark Francis
I asked to opt out of funding the Labour Party due to its fanatical support for state funded religious schools just prior to Blair kissing the Pope’s ring (as I believe it is technically known) and I was told it did not make any difference as the amount would stay the same, but I could if I wanted to. I complained & a received a toe-curlingly patronising… Read more »
Don Smith
We do not need a miracle – Just increase the Community Charge, and what about an introduction of a local income tax? The Government should be brave enough(Election pending or not) to increase our income taxes. Cuts only make it more difficult for everyone. Jobs are lost and services cut. If there is a cash shortage find some cash, and the best way is for people who… Read more »
Mark Francis

Sorry Vix. I down arrowed instead of up arrowing because I wanted to put the number down not the plus votes.
I expect the other did too, eh?

Vix Lowthion

Mark – A handful of people are now red arrowing me, whatever I type. I can take it.
You can’t red arrow at the ballot box…

steve s

Join the club, Vix. ;-)
I have no doubt that you can take it.

derek

steve s,The IW Council would rather pay out of Council Taxpayers money for a Walking Festival.Why is this being protected when it can easily be sponsored by business?

derek

“Cuts”,but Funding a Walking Festival?Please can you explain steve s.

cers121
I not a Green Supporter but Im having great difficulty voting & then accidently clicked on the red which we don’t yet have the option to change some days I can vote on every post then others I cant it does help to Refresh the page then you find you have voted so all very confusing for me… I love On The Wight but I do think… Read more »
davidwalter

Vix, I have the same problem. I type ‘It’s sunny in Wellow’ and get down-arrows! Anyway I’ve give you and SS a green one each to compensate :)

Mark Francis

Red Arrow- symbol of the Pakistan People’s Party. My wife used to regularly red arrow at the ballot box.
That’s why Nawaz Sharif’s thugs tried to assassinate her. Sorry – different story..

Rob

Its no good contacting the standing TORIE MP Andrew Turner to ask him what he is going to do about it, Because he can see the writing on the wall for him in Mays elections so he wouldn’t be bothered.

Joanne Wright

I am one of these people that will be very badly affected if they do cut the passes, what I don’t understand though is, I always thought Southern Vectis was a private run mainland company and it was nothing to do with the island council. Also if they plan to cut the passes for the island will they be unavaiable for mainland use too?

Craig

You’re right that Southern Vectis is a private company, but concessionary fares are paid for by the council. I have a feeling they also have to pay Southern Vectis when bus passes from visitors are used, when holidaymakers with free bus passes travel on our buses, it costs our council money.