The County All-Party Parliamentary Group is launching an inquiry to investigate the decline of rural bus services and make recommendations to government.
Peter Aldous MP, chairman of the County All-Party Parliamentary Group, said:
“Ensuring our towns, rural and coastal communities are well connected through sustainable local transport links is key to the levelling-up agenda. More frequent and reliable bus services have the potential to boost regional growth and improved social mobility, while they provide a lifeline to many people in remote and rural areas.
“Despite this, councils in shire counties have seen their funding almost halved for local bus services since 2010, compared to a 19% drop for the major cities. As a result, buses are almost non-existent in some of the most rural and coastal areas where services act as a lifeline, while county towns suffer from less frequent and more expensive services compared cities.
“We strongly welcome the introduction of the £5bn National Bus Strategy, which has the potential to help reverse the decline in local bus services and make services more frequent and accessible to local residents. However, we must ensure that this funding is distributed fairly to all areas and county authorities have the powers they need to improve local services.
“This inquiry aims to provide new insights into the impact of reductions to local services, how services in our rural areas have adapted in recent years and role of sustainable transport links in tackling climate change. Most importantly, it will provide clear recommendations to inform the development of the National Bus Strategy to ensure county areas fully benefit from the levelling-up agenda.”
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