Bus’s future ‘hangs in the balance’ warns Group
With government funding for buses expiring by the end of March, the future of bus services in England ‘hangs in the balance’, according to the Urban Transport Group.
The Group made the warning in its contribution to next month’s Spring Budget. In its submission to the Treasury, the Group – the UK’s network of city region transport authorities – urged the government to prioritise spending on local urban transport, to prevent many vital bus services being axed.
“Given that the bus is often relied upon by those with the least, protecting it will help the government’s levelling up aspirations, as well contributing to its goals around decarbonisation” – Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group
Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, said: “The future of bus services in England hangs in the balance. Government has provided welcome financial support for the bus, but – with passenger numbers still well below pre-pandemic levels – we urgently need a decision to continue funding otherwise many services will disappear overnight.
“Given that the bus is often relied upon by those with the least, protecting it will help the government’s levelling up aspirations, as well contributing to its goals around decarbonisation.
“Government has already, and rightly, given London a medium term revenue support package to protect the capital’s public transport network beyond April. It’s time now for the Government to also back the bus outside London.”
The Urban Transport Group is calling for a long term, enhanced and devolved approach to funding local public transport services which:
- is capable of delivering the national bus strategy’s aspirations for more, better, cheaper and greener bus services and for sustaining light rail systems.
- is streamlined.
- is devolved to those transport authorities that wish to take responsibility for it.