YP Letters: Bus service cuts will hit hard in country and the city

What is the future for concessionary fares and rural buses?
What is the future for concessionary fares and rural buses?
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From: Roger Backhouse, Upper Poppleton, York.

YOUR excellent article about bus services highlights difficulties facing councils across England (The Yorkshire Post, August 6). Local bus services are not an extra “burden” but essential. Many rely on bus pass concessions to get around.

Not only North Yorkshire services are affected. In York, important services will be either limited or removed, ending the only bus route directly linking Poppleton to major supermarkets. Councils suffered badly from horrific Government grant cuts imposed by George Osborne at a time when they face fast increasing costs of adult social services and young people’s care. Local government has been singled out for bad cuts but gets the blame when services must be cut to pay.

I suspect few MPs and senior civil servants use buses, and few care how much damage their policies causes in rural areas. While I applaud the efforts of the Little White Bus Company to preserve bus routes, that’s not feasible everywhere. Most voluntary groups are short of able volunteers. And why should the limited pool of volunteers be expected to cover for cuts imposed by the Government?

Local government is key to many of the services we all value, but it needs proper funding. I hope we’ll see councillors of all parties campaigning to see that restored.

From: Andy Connell, Mill Hill, Appleby-in-Westmorland.

THE notion that the cost of free bus passes represents a ‘threat’ to social services is misconceived. For many senior citizens, the bus pass gets them out of the house, gives them independence, social interaction and a structure to their day. Deprived of it, they would be more likely to be lonely, depressed and worried about their health, consequently making greater demands on medical and social services.

In Cumbria, the county council has already axed all bus subsidies and services have to run commercially. The operators get just over half the fare of journeys made with bus passes. In theory they are revenue-neutral; in practice senior citizens play a vital role in keeping surviving services on the road in rural areas. I think there might be scope for voluntary contributions; but in essence the bus pass is a good idea.

From: David J Mitchell, Thornton le Dale, Pickering.

THE answer rests with the politicians; change the law to allow bus companies to charge a nominal concessionary fare.