MORE than 50,000 passenger journeys are expected to be lost as Hertfordshire County Council cuts bus services in Borehamwood.

Changes form part of a savings package approved by County Hall on Monday, which will see routes across the region reduced to save an expected £1.4 million.

Journeys at threat are those provided under the county council's statutory duty to supply services where there are gaps in the commercial network, and there is specific need by the elderly and disabled.

Bus user John Cartledge, of Haddon Close, said: “The damage that will be done to ordinary people's lives is incalculable.

“The value of good public transport is self-evident. It provides access to employment, education, shops, recreation, and social contact.

“It reduces congestion and saves energy. It is environment-friendly. And as the very word omnibus implies, it is open to all.”

“No wonder the know-nothings now in control of the county council, to whom the whole concept of public services is anathema, are so determined to wreck it.”

According to county documents, the 656 bus route which operates between St Albans and Borehamwood will be withdrawn from evenings and Sundays, affecting 7,700 journeys.

The 398 service which links Potters Bar and Borehamwood has been marked for, as yet unconfirmed changes which will lose 23,500 journeys.

And the B1/2 and W7/9 routes currently serving the town centre and as a route to Watford, will be joined, with the frequency of journeys in the south of Borehamwood halved – creating an anticipated passenger loss of 20,000.

The cuts form part of a wider savings package which Hertfordshire County Council has had to adopt after the coalition government's comprehensive spending review in October.

Stuart Pile, executive member for highways and transport, said: "The difficult decisions we have taken at cabinet are the start of a radical rethink about the services we provide.

“Over the next three years we expect to have to make savings rising to around £188m a year. We have identified efficiency savings rising to around £110m a year for the next three years and are working hard to achieve more.

“However, without some service reductions, we won't be able to close the gap."

Borehamwood resident Mr Cartledge pointed out the county council had recently published its latest transport plan which he said added “insult to injury”.

Mr Cartledge said: “The document is littered with high-minded goals to 'improve transport accessibility particularly for non-car users and the disadvantaged' or to 'achieve further improvements in the provision of public transport'.

“Needless to say, exactly how any of these goals is served by eliminating the very services on which their achievement depends is nowhere explained.

“It is by their deeds, not their words, that the county councillors must be judged.”

Hertfordshire County Council is hoping to reduce the service to the “minimum position” while remaining compliant with 1985 Transport Act.