'Save our bus services', council leaders plead

 

Local government leaders have warned that subsidised bus routes are under threat because of funding cuts.

Councils provide partial or complete subsidies to nearly half of the bus routes in England.

”Local

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned these may be under threat because of the overall council funding gap, which is expected to exceed £5bn 2020.

‘It’s nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services like caring for the elderly and disabled, protecting children, filling potholes and collecting bins,’ said Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman.

‘Faced with significant funding pressures, many across the country are being forced into taking difficult decisions to scale back services and review subsidised routes.’

Since 2013/14 there were more than 297 million fewer journeys across the country in 2017/18 - a decrease of 6.4%.

This represents what Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, recently described as the slow death of local buses.’

The LGA also added that the Government should fully fund the concessionary fares scheme, which provides free, off-peak, travel for elderly and disabled residents.

This is currently costing local authorities at least £200m a year - an outlay that makes it harder for councils to fund other discretionary subsidised bus services, such as free peak travel, community transport services.

Cllr Tett called on the Government to give councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, a fuel duty rebate currently paid directly to bus operators.

‘The way the concessionary travel scheme is funded by Government has not kept up with growing demand and cost. Councils are being forced to subsidise the scheme by at least £200m a year,’ he said.

‘By giving councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, and properly funding national free bus pass schemes, the Government could help us maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and protect vital routes.’

This story first appeared on localgov.co.uk.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council