Cllr Martin Tett, Transport spokesman for the LGA responds to a Transport Select Committee report on bus services in England outside London.
Responding to a Transport Select Committee report on bus services in England outside London, Cllr Martin Tett, Transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said:
“Bus journeys are in a downward spiral of decline, which is driving up fares and exacerbating cuts to the services and routes that are a lifeline for many communities and vulnerable residents.
“The Committee rightly calls for the funding of bus services to be reformed and it is good to see several recommendations to improve this. The recommendations also include a single bus strategy for England.
“Any strategy would have to be backed by adequate resources and find a fully funded long term solution to concessionary fares which are underfunded by at least £652 million a year. This is unsustainable for councils already struggling to protect other subsidised bus travel in rural areas, or helping young people with their travel costs.
“Ahead of the forthcoming Spending Review, government needs to give councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, and properly fund national free bus pass schemes, if councils are to maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and pollution, and protect vital routes.
“We are happy to work with the Committee and the Government on taking forward the many helpful recommendations in this report.”