'Transport deserts' as hundreds of bus routes are scrapped because of Government cuts

Hundreds of bus routes across the country have been scrapped thanks to Government cuts , according to exclusive new research.

The Campaign for Better Transport study shows £30m has been cut from local authority budgets.

And it has seen more than 500 routes lost, often leaving people isolated and cut off from major cities.

The research also shows that since 2010 over £100million, 33 per cent, has been cut from local authority bus funding and 2,900 bus services have suffered cut backs and withdrawals resulting in huge disruptions for communities.

The ‘Buses in Crisis’ research shows 66 per cent of local authorities have reduced their spend on supported bus provision this year.

A bus service in the Lake District – Cumbria is one of ten councils with no supported bus services in 2017
(Photo: Getty)

And ten councils in England and Wales already had no supported bus services at all as of 2016/17. They are Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Cumbria, Stoke-on-Trent, Luton, Southend-on-Sea, Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot and Wrexham.

Lianna Etkind from Campaign for Better Transport said: “As our research shows, buses across the country have been hit hard by funding cuts. Year on year we are seeing more bus services lost, with some local authorities stopping supporting buses altogether.

“These cuts come on the top of cuts to school transport and the underfunding of free pensioner travel; together these threaten the viability of whole bus networks and will lead to ‘transport deserts’ in some rural and suburban areas where there is no public transport at all.

“This decline is not inevitable though. With the Bus Services Bill currently going through Parliament, there is hope that powers in the bill will help local authorities to better plan and set standards for their bus networks, improving people’s access to jobs, services and education.

“The Government needs to understand the vital role buses play in the economy, the environment and to wider society and to commit to protecting bus services, not just in towns and cities but in rural areas as well.”

Northwest England has seen the highest cuts in bus services this year
(Photo: Getty)

An additional four councils – Middlesborough, Lancashire, Isle of Wight and Torbay – have made 100 per cent cuts to bus subsidies in the financial year 2016/17.

Lancashire County Council initiated the biggest cut this year, officially cutting their entire bus support budget, £7 million, while maintaining £2 million of Community Transport budget

The biggest proportional cuts following Lancashire are Central Bedfordshire at 64.48 per cent, Derbyshire at 54.72 per cent and Portsmouth City at 54.5 per cent.

The North West is the region that has seen the highest bus cuts this year, with an average reduction in bus spending of 15 per cent.

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