Despite a petition signed by more than 2,000 members of the public, Hertfordshire County Council has decided to cut the subsidy to some bus services.

The annual subsidy of £390,000 for Transport for London’s (TfL) 142 and 258 bus routes will be cut after Hertfordshire County Council voted to remove it on Wednesday as a three-year agreement between the County Council and TfL.

Watford Labour chairman Mike Jackson said: “By withdrawing all financial support now, the county will have no influence or leverage with TfL if it proposes cutting these bus services in line with its reduced subsidy.

“The unilateral decision by the county to remove the subsidy sets the clock ticking and threatens the very future of these services.”

In a letter, Peter Bradley, head of consultation at TfL, pleaded for Hertfordshire County Council to reconsider the complete withdrawal of funding.

Conservative councillor David Andrew admitted that the removal of Hertfordshire subsidy could result in the reduction of the frequency of the bus services.

Cllr Derrick Ashley, Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for transport, has defended the subsidy cut.

He said: “I would like to reiterate that there are no proposals to cut cross border bus services.

"For the past three years the county council has provided an annual subsidy of £390,000 to support five bus routes linking a small number of southern Hertfordshire destinations with Greater London.

"While this is a modest amount of money for TfL, it is a large sum for Hertfordshire taxpayers and asking for a four per cent efficiency saving is not unreasonable in the current economic climate.

"For the five services subsidised by Hertfordshire County Council, TfL has an annual budget of £11.3m with the council’s subsidy amounting to just four per cent of their total costs.

"The company also operates a further 11 routes into Hertfordshire that we do not contribute to.

"In this tough economic climate, at a time when we have had to raise council tax by 1.9 per cent, it is simply not justifiable for us to continue to use tax payers’ money to subsidise a commercial bus service.

"We have provided more than 20 years of support for these routes with the current three-year agreement with TfL due to expire in April 2016.

"If TfL do make significant changes to the routes we will aim to ensure a good service for Hertfordshire residents is maintained."