Cuts, cuts and more cuts
07 February 2011
The quadruple whammy of changes to the fuel subsidy received by bus operators, changes to the way local authorities are paid back to fund the concessionary fares scheme, fuel price rises and big changes to local authority funding are posing a major threat to some bus services. Rural and small town services, which are provided at the margins of commercial viability or are supported by local authority funding, look very vulnerable – price rises could simply drive passengers away.
Local authorities face some tough, unenviable choices about what to support in a difficult economic environment. That is a local political decision. However, we have been urging local authorities to consult passengers, talk to bus operators and think carefully to see if some routes can be saved or created out of this situation. Some, like Central Bedfordshire Council, have followed our advice and consulted thoroughly and used feedback to adapt their proposals. They’re still delivering the necessary savings, but this smarter approach will ensure that changes are less painful for passengers. So, it can be done....