Bonfire of the buses: Councils slash £400m from services in a decade as 3,000 local routes are cut
- More than half of local authorities cut annual financial support by 50 per cent
- Around 3,000 bus routes have also been axed since 2009, 243 this year alone
- Campaigners fear elderly and people in rural areas have been hit the hardest
The level of funding for buses in England has fallen by nearly £400million in a decade, a report has revealed.
More than half of local authorities have cut annual financial support by 50 per cent or more since 2009, analysis by the Campaign for Better Transport found.
And more than 3,000 bus routes have been axed in this time, 243 of them in the past year. Campaigners fear the elderly and people living in rural areas have been hardest hit by the decline, which has been caused by council funding cuts.
More than half of local authorities have cut annual financial support for buses by 50 per cent or more since 2009, analysis by the Campaign for Better Transport found (stock image)
The report said the Government’s support for buses is now £234million a year lower than in 2009/10 – and local authority support has plummeted by £163million a year. Of the council-funded bus routes cut in the past year, almost half were in Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.
Meanwhile, ten local transport authorities, including Oxfordshire and Cumbria, now provide no financial support for bus routes whatsoever.
Darren Shirley, of Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘Reductions in funding to support bus services has consequences.
‘It leads to isolation and social exclusion and hinders access to employment, education and training as people find it more difficult and costly to travel. It hampers efforts to tackle air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and road congestion.’
Campaigners fear the elderly and people living in rural areas have been hardest hit by the decline, which has been caused by council funding cuts (stock image)
Boris Johnson said in July the ‘transformation of local bus services’ would be one of his priorities.
Katy Taylor, of one of Britain’s biggest bus firms Go-Ahead, said: ‘The Prime Minister’s public enthusiasm for buses is warmly welcome, but this report shows the stark reality for services in many parts of the country.’
She added: ‘Successful bus services are vital to the health and well-being of our communities.’
A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We recently announced an additional £220million to deliver a bus revolution to boost services and make journeys greener, easier and more reliable than ever.’