MPs hear of cut-hit bus services
By Wells People | Thursday, May 12, 2011, 11:00
Coalition Government cuts are causing damaging reductions to bus services across the West, MPs have been told.
The impacts include the withdrawal of evening buses to Cheddar Gorge – one of Britain’s top tourist attractions.
In the final evidence session of an inquiry into bus services following the coalition’s spending review, the MPs heard that cuts were hitting the economy, with the renowned gorge given as one example.
West transport campaigner David Redgewell, of Wells, told the hearing bus fares across the region had been rising. He praised the work being done to improve the bus network in and around Bristol, including the proposals for a rapid transit system. But he said the West of England Partnership, which is tackling transport and congestion issues, faced real problems getting people out of their cars and onto public transport when fares were going up.
He warned that a five per cent reduction in bus operator grants, along with a Government decision to end ring-fencing on most of its funding, meant fares were rising to meet the shortfall.
Mr Redgewell, a member of Bus Users UK, warned that Somerset County Council cuts were also having an impact, including on passengers regularly travelling out of Bristol.
Last month it was revealed that 15 routes had been axed after £2.6 million was cut from subsidies, almost half its funding for the services.