Cambridgeshire heads list of bus shame

CAMBRIDGESHIRE is top of a list of shame of the 10 worst county councils for planning bus service cuts.

Save Our Buses, a national campaign to protect local bus services, is being launched today (Thursday) by sustainable transport group Campaign for Better Transport. The campaign is a response to unprecedented cuts to council transport spending, which could leave some people in Cambridgeshire without any form of public transport.

Figures revealed by the Save Our Buses campaign show that 70 per cent of local authorities plan major cuts to their bus budgets, with 14 councils cutting support by more than �1m each.

Cambridgeshire County Council is one of three councils planning to cut all their supported bus services, in a bid to save �2.7m.

Government funding cuts mean council-funded routes, which include many rural, hospital, evening and weekend services, are now under threat.

Save Our Buses has collected data from every local authority in England to produce an interactive map showing bus cuts across the county (which went live at from noon yesterday (Wednesday). It says Cambridgeshire County Council’s plans would spell the end of all council-funded bus services in the county.

Buses are vital to the economy and account for two-thirds of public transport journeys, the Campaign for Better Transport (formerly known as Transport 2000) said.

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“They are especially important to people on low incomes, job seekers, the elderly, young people, disabled people and those without access to a car.”

Save Our Buses argues that cuts on this scale are counter-productive and will actually hold back the economy, obstruct the delivery of other public services, reduce employment opportunities and magnify social problems.

Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “The Government said that spending cuts would be socially fair, but cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.

“We believe any short term savings will be outweighed by the long term cost of a vastly depleted bus network. These unprecedented cuts will be especially disastrous for people on low incomes and could effectively mean the death of rural bus services. Politicians must consider the social, economic and environmental consequences of failing to protect our bus services.”