Cuts Watch #366: Bus services under threat from cuts
More than two-thirds of local authorities are planning major cuts in spending on buses, which will hit people on low incomes and those in rural areas the hardest.
The Campaign for Better Transport, as part of it’s Save our Buses campaign, collected data from every local authority in England. It found 13 county councils were planning cutbacks of more than £1m, including Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Devon. Many rural, hospital, evening and weekend bus services were also at risk.
Whitehall’s funding squeeze on councils, changes to payments for pensioners’ bus passes and a looming reduction in fuel subsidies could force rural bus routes out of business, according to the Campaign for Better Transport. The chief executive, Stephen Joseph, said
The worst affected by the cuts would be people on low incomes and in rural areas, which are served by heavily subsidised services to encourage private operators to take on commercially non-viable routes.
According to the Campaign, buses account for two-thirds of public transport journeys.