HAMPSHIRE County Council has launched a review into funding for subsidised public transport and is asking residents for their views.

The council is carrying out a consultation exercise as part of a review of bus and community transport services that receive funding from the authority.

Hampshire County Council needs to reduce spending by between £1.25million and £1.5million in public and transport as part of the 12 per cent savings it needs to make.

The authority currently spends £4.7million on supporting local bus and ferry services across Hampshire that are not commercially viable for private operators to run.

A further £1million is spent on supporting community transport services and £13.4million on a national concessionary fares scheme.

Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council said: “The County Council has significant budget reductions to make, and this requires us to look at all areas of spending, including the limited resources we have to support public and community transport services.

“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 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

• Ceasing the 9am early start for the older persons bus pass

• Reducing the frequency and/or days of service

• Replacing bus services with taxishares or community transport services

• Reducing the amount of printed timetables and other public transport information with a greater use of electronic information.

For more information on the consultation, visit www.hants.gov.uk/transportconsultation2014.