Northern Mayors unite in call on government for urgent bus support

The cost of living crisis will be worsened if the Government withdraws vital funding for bus services, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Northern Mayors have told Ministers.

In a call led by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Northern Mayors urged the Government to continue with vital support to stop significant reductions in bus services after it emerged that hundreds of services were at risk of being withdrawn or reduced in a further hit for working people and families across the North. 

The Bus Recovery Grant was introduced to support bus services during the pandemic. This ends in October, creating a cliff edge for bus companies. Mayors are working with leaders and bus operators to grow patronage but have stressed that it will take time.  

 

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: 

“These cuts will decimate our bus network, risk leaving people isolated and potentially unable to get to work or college.   

“At a time when people face an extraordinary cost of living crisis, the reduction and withdrawal of bus services will seriously impact our communities, raising household bills with extra travel costs such as taxis.  

“That’s why, as Northern Mayors, we’re standing together to demand Government extend this support to prevent another severe blow to local economies at a time of national crisis.” 

 

That’s why, as Northern Mayors, we’re standing together to demand Government extend this support to prevent another severe blow to local economies at a time of national crisis.

Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire

 

The Bus Recovery Grant was introduced to support bus services during the pandemic. This ends in October, creating a cliff edge for bus companies. Mayors are working with leaders and bus operators to grow patronage but have stressed that it will take time.  

 

Operators have told Mayors that hundreds of bus routes across the country would be significantly reduced or withdrawn, making it harder for people to reach work, education and move around the regions. The Mayors are clear that this will impact the local economy at a time where people and businesses are already under severe financial pressure.  

 

It is also at odds with efforts to encourage people back onto buses post-pandemic at a time where greener, cheaper and cleaner transport should be the focus.  

 

The Mayors understand that this support was essential during the worst of the Covid pandemic, and now call on Ministers to recognise the cost-of-living crisis demands a similar level of urgency and support. They are clear this is not the time for families to struggle to get to work or college as petrol prices soar. They have therefore called on the Government to do the right thing and extend this support until patronage returns.  

 

In West Yorkshire, without support, bus operators have notified the Mayor they will withdraw 26 services, meaning some communities will lose access to their only form of public transport. In addition, 25 routes will lose all services after 7pm which will prevent many shift workers using buses from work. Analysis has shown that over 100 local bus routes will be affected in some form.  

 

The letter, which has also been signed by Mayor of South Yorkshire, Oliver Coppard; Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram and Mayor of the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll. It has been sent to Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi MP and to Conservative Party leadership candidates Rishi Sunak MP and Liz Truss MP.