BUS routes across the county have been axed as the county council announces savings of more than £500,000.

Cuts include services in Andover, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, the New Forest, and Winchester, with certain journey times being stopped and some days being scrapped entirely.

But civic chiefs say the cuts are needed to keep the overall service going, due to added pressure from reduced central government grants.

They add that the decision to make the cuts have come after an “extensive county-wide consultation” which was held earlier this year. Around 140 organisations and 4,400 residents responded.

Council Rob Humby, transport chief at the county council, said the move was to make sure the authority could “continue to support public transport with less resource [at its disposal]”.

He added: “We’re committed to making bus travel in Hampshire more appealing.

“I understand how important public transport is to residents who have told us about their most important journeys and priorities. My aim is to make sure that every community in Hampshire which currently has a public transport link, retains that link, even if it means that some of the services would run less frequently.”

Andover’s C1, C3, C4, C5, C5A, C6, and C8 routes will be amended with the “timetable to be reviewed to reflect usage” the authority says. £35,048 will be saved from the yet unknown alterations.

Cllr Humby said: “With the growing pressures across public sector services, we have had to look at many services we provide to make sure that the limited resources we have are directed to where they are most needed.

“The budget used to support public transport has recently been reviewed using travel data as well as the results of a county wide consultation with the public.

“In the specific case of the number 46 (between Winchester and North Baddesley), given that it provides 15,358 passenger journeys a year, I am satisfied this service is well used by the community and it is appropriate that the county council makes a contribution to ensure that this service continues to run.”