9 March 2011
Campaign for Better Transport broadly welcomed today's announcement by Norman Baker of £10m to support community transport services, but warned this will not plug the gap left as more than £133m is drained from the bus network.
Sophie Allain, Campaign for Better Transport's bus campaigner, said: "It is good that Government has recognised the urgent need to support rural transport. Community transport is an important part of the mix, particularly in isolated rural areas, and there are some great examples of innovative and popular schemes around the country. However these schemes work best when integrated into a public transport network, the same networks that bus cuts are putting in jeopardy. The money announced today is welcome, but is going to be dwarfed by the scale of cuts to support for bus services and this damage can not be undone by a small, one-off handout for community transport schemes."
The bus network is currently facing cuts amounting to more than £133m. Campaign for Better Transport argues these unprecedented cuts could tip buses into a spiral of decline from which they struggle to recover. To highlight the importance of buses for people, the environment and the economy, the charity launched a Save Our Buses campaign. As part of the campaign, the charity wrote a joint letter to David Cameron PM, co-signed by 27 other organisations, urging him to back Britain’s buses.
Notes to Editors
1. Save Our Buses is a campaign from Campaign for Better Transport that makes the case for buses to Government decision-makers and supports local campaign groups to fight bus cuts in their area. For more information, or to view the interactive map showing bus cuts across the county, visit the Save Our Buses website.
2. Local authorities provide buses that are socially necessary, but not commercially viable. Campaign for Better Transport has identified cuts to local authority supported services in England amounting to around £34m to date.
3. The Government announced in the spending review that the bus companies' fuel duty rebate, the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), will be cut by 20 per cent from 2012, which will result in an £99.6m loss of funding. This loss in subsidies is likely to result in higher fares or less profitable services being cut.
4. The letter to David Cameron PM was signed by Campaign for Better Transport, Action with Communities in Rural England, AgeUK, British Youth Council, Bus Users UK, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign for Real Ale, Community Transport Association UK, Campaign for National Parks, Citizens Advice, Friends of the Earth, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Greenpeace, Living Streets, National Children’s Bureau, National Federation of Women's Institutes, National Pensioners Convention, National Council of Women of Great Britain, Road Peace, RMT, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Sustrans, The Ramblers Association, Trades Union Congress, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, UK Youth Climate Coalition, UNITE and UNISON.
5. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).