Bus routes "under threat due to funding cuts"

Preston Bus Station

Councils in the North West are warning of cuts to bus routes because of funding cuts.

Scores of rural services which are seen as less profitable by commercial operators, are subsidised by local authorities.

Many passengers in Preston see their local bus as a vital lifeline:

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned bus services may be under threat because of the overall council funding gap which is expected to exceed £5 bn 2020.

But the Department for Transport has responded with a statement:

We recognise that buses are vital in connecting people, homes and businesses, and that’s why we have given local councils extra powers to work in partnership with bus companies to improve the services passengers expect and deserve.

“We provide around £250 million every year to support bus services and improve journeys for passengers. This benefits people up and down the country, and supports the nearly 10 million older and disabled people in England who get free off-peak bus travel.”

• Through the Local Government Finance Settlement, councils will have £90.7bn to spend on local services over the next two years. They are responsible for managing their own finances and making the right decisions for the communities they serve.

• Local councils and bus companies know their passengers best and decide which bus operations to support in their areas

• Long-term social factors, such as the decline in the number of trips people make by any mode of transport, are affecting levels of bus usage.

• The Bus Services Act, by giving local authorities new enhanced partnership powers, will mean they can work with operators to improve local services by agreeing a range of service improvements. Franchising powers will mean mayoral combined authorities have automatic access to new powers to franchise local bus services, similar to how TfL operates in London.

• The Act will improve options for local authorities and operators to work together to maintain services, and will make it easier for passengers to access information on timetables, fares and routes.

– Department for Transport