5 June 2013: Over the past few weeks we have been stepping up our work to save our buses from any further cuts in the spending review on 26 June. We have made the case for buses to many MPs, Treasury officials and the Chancellor, George Osborne.
Last week we sent a joint letter to Mr Osborne signed by 31 diverse organisations including the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, The Royal National Institute for Blind People and the National Union of Students. This letter made the case for buses by highlighting how important they are socially, economically and environmentally, whilst also offering some practical suggestions to the Chancellor. You can find a copy of the letter attached below.
Buses are vital for our economy. Over five billion bus journeys are made in the UK each year with 1 billion of these being made commuting to work. More people commute to work by bus than all other modes of public transport combined. Research by the institute of Transport Studies has shown that bus commuters generate £64 billion in economic output each year. Socially and environmentally, the benefit of good buses is almost immeasurable, however we do know that if car drivers switched just one in twenty five of their car journeys to bus or coach, it would mean one billion fewer car journeys and a saving of 2 million tonnes of CO2. Please find attached our rural bus briefing for MP's, entitled 'Don't cut off the countryside' which we hope you also find informative.
We have also received information from the Department for Transport under Freedom of Information and from local authorities that show the impact cuts would have. If support is cut for bus services, as many as one in seven bus journeys could be lost. The cost to the economy from these cuts would be at least £3.7 billion by 2022.
With all this information it is clear that any further cuts to bus services will be a false economy, making short term savings but costing our country a huge amount in the long term.
It is, however, vitally important to remember that behind all these numbers and stats there is a human element at stake here with many personal stories of the impacts of bus cuts: Young people unable to access education or training, old people losing their lifeline to independence, commuters losing their route to work.
We will continue to work hard to save our buses right up until the Spending Round on 26 June and we will keep you fully updated about our progress.