PlusBus rumour is wheely unfounded

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A political bust-up has erupted over a PlusBus service that is a lifeline to hundreds of elderly and disabled people.

The facility, run by Milton Keynes Community Transport, has operated successfully for eight years and was shortlisted for a National Transport Award.

It picks up passengers from their homes and takes them to appointments, shopping centres and even day trips.

This week city Liberal Democrats announced ruling Conservatives were proposing to slash a whopping £200,000 off the Plus Bus budget, leaving the service just £100,000 a year on which to run.

They slammed the plan as “disgraceful” and said two thirds of the housebound and vulnerable passengers would be left stranded as a result.

But Tory leader Andrew Geary said the criticism was not only unfair but totally inaccurate.

“The Lib Dems have got it so wrong. They need to read the budget papers properly.

“We are actually proposing to reduce the whole council transport budget by £200,000. On a budget of £8.2 million, I make that a saving of 2.44 per cent.”

He said the PlusBus contract would be renegotiated with the aim of improving the service.

“We want it to be a much wider, more accessible service for people in genuine need. But we need to do it without spending too much of taxpayers’ money,” he told the Citizen.

Lib Dem leader Douglas McCall has drafted an amendment to get the £200,000 cut scrapped at the budget setting meeting on February 19.

He said: “We told the Tories that during this time of austerity the most vulnerable members of society should be protected from the worst of the cuts. We hope all councillors will want to support a vital service for our older and disabled residents.”

All blue badge holders, anybody with higher rate Disabled Living Allowance and pensioners aged 80 or over are currently eligible to use the PlusBus facility.