According to the Department for Transport’s annual bus statistics, bus use in England outside London continued to steadily decline this year, and bus use in London decreased for the first time since 2012/13.
Councils have a statutory duty to subsidise funding for the concessionary travel scheme in England. The scheme provides pensioners and disabled people with free off-peak travel on all local bus services in England.
Due to financial reductions, local authorities have been compelled to divert money from discretionary subsidised bus services (such as free peak travel, community transport services and reduced faces), in order to continue supporting the concessionary fares scheme.
This has led to a reduction in council-supported bus services by more than 12 per cent in the last year alone. Council-supported bus services in rural areas have reduced by approximately 40 per cent in the last decade, and in urban areas by just over a quarter.