Bus service cuts to threaten most vulnerable citizens

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on August 11, 2011

Cuts to bus services across England pose a threat to society’s most vulnerable people, according to a report put together by MPs.

Local authority budget cuts can already be seen affecting subsidised services – especially rural routes - while pushing up fares, alleges the Transport Select Committee.

The organisation says that elderly and disabled people are stopped from working, being educated or gaining access to healthcare.

The coalition government called the current funding situation “challenging”, however it said it has been closely monitoring the situation.

Thus far, subsidies have been used to provide services viewed as not being commercially viable – which includes those that run in the evenings, at the weekend, and in rural areas.

Extensive cuts mean that the old, young, and disabled are being disproportionately affected - insists the report, which covers all bus services in England, albeit with the exclusion of London.

Last year’s Spending Review – responsible for cutting local authority budgets – pushed 70% of councils into reducing funding for subsidised services and increasing fares. The report also found that many buses have been withdrawn without any public consultation – a factor that must change, it says.

Launching the report, the committee’s chairman Louise Ellman, of the Labour party, criticised the current approach. Although the government continues to claim that it wishes to see improved bus services for its people, the spending review has meant that many of them have been withdrawn while there is a huge indication that fares will rise well above the current rate of inflation.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post: Fears voiced over damage to London tourism

Next post: American chimpanzee attack woman picture revealed