The CPT has responded to the Local Government Association’s (LGA) criticism of BSOG following the Campaign for Better Transport’s call to the Chancellor to protect bus funding in the forthcoming Spending Round.
Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the LGA’s Economy & Transport board, said: “BSOG has long been an inefficient way to support bus services – it spends public money subsidising already profitable routes while doing little to maintain services which are equally important but less financially viable.
“With less money available, we need to be more strategic and flexible in how we use it. Instead of the current inefficient top-down approach, it should be local areas which decide on which services this money is spent.
“Local authorities are already showing they can get far more ‘bang for their buck’ with transport spending. It is councils which are best placed to manage and invest in roads and integrate buses, trains, trams and cycling schemes to suit the diverse needs of businesses and communities.”
Responding, CPT’s CEO Simon Posner said: “The UK enjoys one of the most comprehensive bus networks in Europe, and passengers already meet a high proportion of the costs through fares. Buses are the most critical and most used mode of public transport in the UK, yet receive proportionately less public funding support than other transport modes.
“Studies show BSOG is a simple and effective tool making an impact on transport. It results in 8% lower bus fares, 8% more services, 7.5% more passengers taking the bus and fewer people travelling by car.
“The bus delivers benefits to everyone on the road by reducing congestion, so the case for a grant which keeps fares down and service levels up is a strong one.”