Bus services in England slashed for second year
By Vivienne Russell | 12 December 2012
Local bus services in England are being slashed as councils grapple with grant cuts, public transport campaigners said today.
The Campaign for Better Transport revealed that four out of ten local authorities have cut back their bus services this year, with one in ten making cuts of more than £1m. The total value of cuts was £18.3m, 16% of the budget for support buses across England.
This is the second year of significant reductions to the local bus network, the CfBT said. Last year, five in ten councils slashed their bus services.
The reasons are a 28% cut in councils’ transport budgets and a 20% cut in the Bus Service Operators Grant, which took effect in April this year.
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the CfBT, said: ‘Buses are vital to communities and the economy. Without them, many people are isolated, unable to access jobs or reliant on the car. By making year-on-year cuts like these, we run a very real risk of tipping services into a spiral of decline.’
Central government support for buses is being devolved to councils and the CfBT fears that ring-fencing might not continue. Joseph urged the government to ensure funds were protected.
He added: ‘Local authorities and operators must work together to make buses the natural choice for many journeys. Smarter ticketing, frequent and reliable services, better passenger information and traffic planning that promotes buses all make a big difference.’