Bus Users responds to National Audit Office Report: Improving local bus services in England outside London
Bus Users has welcomed a new report from the National Audit Office that examines the effectiveness of government support for buses and the extent to which operators and local authorities will be able to meet the objectives of a national bus strategy.
The report found that every £1 spent on supporting local bus services generated between £1.80 and £5.10 worth of average benefits. Yet despite this, between 2010 and 2019 local authorities significantly reduced support for bus services with 42 of the 85 local authorities examined reducing funding by more than 50%. According to the report, these cuts have disproportionately impacted more rural or disadvantaged users. Where local authorities have prioritised bus services and tackling congestion, however, bus use has been improved and sustained.
Among its recommendations, the report calls for a clear and consistent vision for the future of bus travel, and greater coordination between government departments to ensure bus funding is sufficient to meet future objectives.
In welcoming the report’s recommendations, Bus Users Chief Executive, Claire Walters, said: “These findings reinforce the vital role that buses have to play in a decarbonised and sustainable future, and the fact that investment in bus services is money well spent.
“As the report so rightly says, for buses to achieve their potential we need whole-government commitment to long-term outcomes and locally led sustainable solutions.”
Read the report from the National Audit Office: