County Council officials have been accused of betraying the people of Lincolnshire after slashing some local bus services - just three weeks after ruling out any cuts.
Three weeks ago, the county council dismissed fears of major reductions to services after securing an extra £5.18million of Central Government funding for the next 12 months.
At the moment, the cuts only affect some Call Connect services - and the details of which routes might be affected have not been released.
Colin Mair, the UKIP leader at County Hall, has claimed that even more routes will be slashed across the county – particularly in more rural areas.
Coun Mair said: “The people of Lincolnshire have been betrayed.
They (the ruling Conservative party at County Hall) are acting like Pontius Pilate. Three weeks ago, they said there wouldn’t be any cuts to services but look at what’s happening.
“This is the same ruling group that said they would not switch street lights off, or cut social care.
“You can’t believe anything they say.
“It’s cut, cut, cut. People really are suffering and they are going to suffer even more.”
Coun Richard Davies, the county council’s executive member for highways and transportation, blamed the cuts on a 40-50 per cent increase in the contracts for supplying some rural services.
He said: “With regard to the public transport budget, we have around 180 fixed route contracts costing in excess of £3m with a number of operators which are negotiated or tendered for on a regular basis.
“Any contract is subject to market forces such as the level of competition, cost increases and changes in the commercial bus network.
“Some of those bus service contracts have increased by 40 to 50% and this is therefore likely to lead to reductions in the numbers of bus services that can be delivered.
“We’re continuing to work with bus operators to ensure we can make better use of services, that they are meeting people’s needs and to avoid seeing empty buses travelling around the county.”
The Mercury can also confirm that the council is looking at increasing charges for children who use buses to travel to schools that are not closest to their home address.
The changes could have a big impact on the county’s grammar schools with reports parents could have to pay around £30 per child.