Is a funding cliff edge threatening local bus services?

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Silviya Barrett, Head of Policy and Research. CfBT









Silviya Barrett, Head of Policy and Research at Campaign for Better Transport, voices her concerns surrounding the impending funding situation facing bus operators

Buses are essential. They account for more than two thirds of all public transport journeys and are an environmentally friendly option for local trips. People with no access to private vehicles, including many younger, older or disabled people, and those on low incomes, rely on good and affordable bus services. But bus use and provision have declined over time and the pandemic has made matters worse. This presents a threat to local buses due to the way the market is structured and services are funded.

Support uncertainty

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has provided funding packages to compensate for the loss of fare revenue and maintain services, initially through the Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant and then through recovery grants. However, this support all expires at the end of March
and there has been no announcement about whether, and by how much, it will be replaced.

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