Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bus service axe 'will hit most needy'

Many parts of the country could be left without public transport as councils reduce funding for bus services in response to government spending cuts, it was claimed today.
Some 70% of councils in England were planning major cuts to their bus budgets, the Campaign for Better Transport said, as it launched a Save Our Buses campaign.
Campaigners said council-funded routes, which include many rural, hospital, evening and weekend services, were under threat and people on low incomes, the young and the elderly would be worst affected.
The group has collected data from every local authority in England to produce an interactive map showing bus cuts across the county.
It said local authority bus cuts amounted to a running tally of at least £34 million, with some councils planning to cut all their supported services and 14 councils cutting support by more than £1 million each.
Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport's chief executive, said: "The Government said that spending cuts would be socially fair, but cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.
"We believe any short term savings will be outweighed by the long term cost of a vastly depleted bus network.
"These unprecedented cuts will be especially disastrous for people on low incomes and could effectively mean the death of rural bus services.

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