From the 22nd July 2018, D&G Bus will be withdrawing bus services from Walton, Cherryfields, Stonefield and Aston Lodge
Before the 31st March 2018, the local bus services in Stone were operated as part of a contract with Staffordshire County Council and received a considerable subsidy. However, as part of a consultation exercise carried out in 2017 the county council withdrew the funding for these services.
Chris Almond, Bus Network Manager for D&G, explains:
Following the consultation we decided to offer a replacement service on a commercial basis, i.e., with no Council funding.
Unfortunately it is this service we have chosen to withdraw as it is not financially viable to cover the cost of the operation any longer.
Each of our buses costs in excess of £100,000 per year to operate and the Stone services are making less than half of that amount.
D&G have written to Stone Town Council to ask for a meeting to discuss whether any local funding is available to continue the service. However no meeting has been arranged just yet.
The Services A, B and C are to be withdrawn from 22 July 2018 however D&G Bus will continue to provide the 13 and 14 service to the people of Stone.
The County Council confirmed that the bus operator has tried to run a service in the area, but after a couple of months has found it financially unviable.
Mark Deaville, Cabinet Member for Commercial at Staffordshire County Council said:
“While this is a commercial decision by the bus operator and not the county council, we understand that a company cannot be expected to run services at a loss.
“We carried out a review last summer of journeys we can subsidise in 2018/19 and unfortunately we are not in a position to simply take over a service which a professional operator deems unsustainable.”