Buses in the firing line for cuts

It was reported today that research from the Campaign for Better Transport shows 72% of councils are making cuts to bus provision.

London bus stop

Photo via Creative Commons by mellowynk

Councils subsidise bus services in places where they are not commercially viable but are vital to the local community.

Cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

Older and disabled people have hugely benefited from free bus travel and often rely on public transport to do shopping, get to GP and hospital appointments and visit friends.

But there is no point having a free pass if there are no buses to get on.

Cutting bus routes could lead to people losing their only independent access to transport.  If you live in the countryside you will be doubly disadvantaged because poor bus provision in rural areas already causes isolation.

Only yesterday the government was celebrating significant savings from “cutting waste, and not from cutting services”. This is clearly not always going to be the case.

The government must recognise the many benefits of accessible public transport for older people.

New ways to pool budgets or contract bus services need to be found so that we can ease the impact of cuts to the people who need them the most.

8 responses to “Buses in the firing line for cuts

  1. Should we assume that applies to English counties only?

  2. A report into the impact of concessionary travel on older people just been relaesed by the (former) Transport Action Group in Manchester:
    http://www.tag-mcr.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2982:investigating-the-impact-of-concessionary-fares-on-older-peoples-lives&catid=23:research&Itemid=38

  3. The research that Campaign for Better Transport have is based on counties in England.

  4. Thanks Bill. Interesting results showing the connection between the concessionary bus pass and a range of objectives to improve older people’s lives.

  5. Just over a year ago the Government started a consultation on the possable withdrawal of concessionary bus-passes from older people. I wrote about it in my “grumblesmiles” blog on 16th July 2010 under the heading of “Bus pass bust up”. In the face of opposition the suggested change was dropped and 11 million disabled and elderly people were still able to travel freely.
    Now we know what “Localism” means. The Government left Local Authorities to do their dirty wok by cutting subsidies to the bus companies.
    You make a very good point Gemma — there is no value in having a free bus pass if there are no buses

  6. Pingback: Transport Committee warns about impact of bus spending cuts | Age UK Blog

  7. UPDATE: The Transport Committee have reiterated our concerns about bus spending cuts – see the full post for more detail.
    https://ageukblog.org.uk/2011/08/11/transport-committee-warns-about-impact-of-bus-spending-cuts/

  8. Pingback: Buses in the firing line for cuts | 321sdlt

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