Plea for urgent government review to ease bus cuts burden

Only supported bus services will be affected by spending cuts in North Yorkshire.

Only supported bus services will be affected by spending cuts in North Yorkshire.

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North Yorkshire County Council insists there will be no adverse impacts on rural residents from cuts to supported bus services, after campaigners singled out its supported bus provision as being among those worst hit by government funding cuts.

Local authorities are proposing cuts totalling more than £20m on subsidised bus services this year, according to the Campaign for Better Transport, which the Rural Services Network (RSN) blames on wider spending curbs imposed on councils by government.

In North Yorkshire, the county council is cutting its supported bus service budget by £1.1m per year.

But Councillor Chris Metcalfe, the council’s executive member for public transport, said: “There will not be an adverse impact.

“There was an extensive consultation to understand the impacts on residents of our initial proposals and in light of the feedback from that consultation we have actually scaled back some of the proposals because there were concerns from people on certain routes.

“Some services will be reduced from hourly to two-hourly services. Our intention never was and never is to leave any community without any transport whatsoever.”

A ‘Save Our Buses’ campaign backed by the RSN is calling for an urgent review into funding for bus services ahead of the Government’s budget on 19 March.

Cecilia Motley, the RSN’s chairman, said: “Buses play a vital role in rural communities – especially for local residents who do not have a car or other available transport. We recognise the need for austerity measures but government cuts are in grave danger of going too far.”

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