There’s been an unprecedented response to the public consultation on parking charges and concessionary bus fares.
No fewer than 1,761 people responded to the survey.
There was broad support to the principle of reintroducing charges on school buses – but very different views on how much should be charged.
Unsurprisingly there was little support for the idea of making all government staff pay to park at work – an idea that has sparked outcry particularly from teachers and firemen among others.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne said: ‘It’s a big response and it’s great so many people have taken the time to fill in the questionnaire. The assurance I will give to everyone is that their views will be listened to very carefully.’
But he added: ‘This is not, though, a referendum. We have to take decisions based on rational judgement.
‘There is an overwhelming need for government to find ways of making and saving money but this can’t just be about saving money. It has to be about common sense and clever solutions to overall problems.’
The Department of Infrastructure is looking to make cost savings of £5 million in this financial year.
Mr Gawne admitted there were some options that he did not believe were workable. ‘There are elements which I personally would not consider.’
Turning to the options to charge on school buses, two thirds of those who responded said they agreed with the principle of charging something. Some 73 per cent said they department should continue subsidising school buses.
An overwhelming 95 per cent of respondents said they believed it appropriate for children who live a mile away from school, to walk – and those who lives two miles away, to cycle.
A total of 54 per cent were in favour of charging a flat rate fare of 50p. Some 7 per cent agreed children ought to pay half fare, 13 per cent said they should pay £1 and 66 per cent would be happy for children to pay a 20p flat fare.
Mr Gawne said the figures didn’t reflect the level of support for charges from families who would have had to pay.