BUS FUND­ING HALVED

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews - Steve Cham­bers Cam­paign For Bet­ter Trans­port

Im­me­di­ate De­liv­ery A NEW re­port re­leased by Cam­paign For Bet­ter Trans­port shows fund­ing for sup­ported buses has been halved in the last eight years, leav­ing many parts of Eng­land and Wales with­out pub­lic trans­port.

The Buses In Cri­sis re­port reveals that lo­cal au­thor­ity bus bud­gets in Eng­land and Wales were cut by £20.5 mil­lion last year – the eighth year in a row bud­gets have been cut.

Since 2010/11, sup­ported bus bud­gets in Eng­land and Wales have been cut by £182m – that’s a 45% re­duc­tion.

The lat­est cuts in fund­ing have meant 199 routes were al­tered or com­pletely with­drawn last year, with Our Price a to­tal of over three thou­sand routes (3,347) al­tered, re­duced or with­drawn in the last eight years.

Our lat­est re­port con­firms that the slow death of the sup­ported bus con­tin­ues, with lo­cal au­thor­ity bus bud­gets suf­fer­ing yet an­other cut this year.

The re­sult­ing cuts to ser­vices mean many peo­ple no longer have ac­cess to pub­lic trans­port, with ru­ral ar­eas hit es­pe­cially hard.

The loss of a bus ser­vice has huge im­pli­ca­tions – it can pre­vent peo­ple ac­cess­ing jobs and ed­u­ca­tion; have an ad­verse ef­fect on the lo­cal econ­omy with peo­ple pre­vented from get­ting to shops and busi­nesses; af­fect peo­ple’s phys­i­cal health and men­tal well-be­ing; and has an in­evitable ef­fect on con­ges­tion and air pol­lu­tion as more cars jam up our roads.

The re­cent Buses Ser­vices Act does have the po­ten­tial to im­prove lo­cal buses, but it’s not enough on its own.

The Gov­ern­ment must wake up to the cri­sis hit­ting lo­cal buses be­fore it’s too late.

We want to see a proper na­tional strat­egy for buses backed up by fund­ing, like those that al­ready ex­ist for all other modes of trans­port.

Only when we treat what is hap­pen­ing to buses as a na­tional cri­sis, rather than a lo­cal one, will we start to re­verse their de­cline. From Our Price Our Price Hoole Bridge, Ch­ester, CH2 3AF ( The for­mer Honda show­room) Large Free Car park Tel: 01244 316041 |

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