Analysis of government figures by the Local Government Association (LGA) shows 4.3 billion journeys were made in 2018 - 19, compared with 4.6 billion in 2014 -15. The LGA believes giving councils oversight of local bus services would enable them to maintain and improve them, as well as protect routes so older and vulnerable people ‘don’t get left behind’.
Earlier this year, it warned that nearly half of routes are at risk of being scrapped due to a lack of funding. It said that councils are filling a £652m gap in government funding for the free bus pass scheme. LGA transport spokesman David Renard said: ‘Councils want to protect local bus services, which are a vital service and can be a lifeline for our most vulnerable residents, whether that is to go shopping, collect medication, attend doctor appointments or socialise with friends.
The continuing decline in bus journeys emphasises the need to protect bus services and for councils to be able to invest in funding subsidised routes.’
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