New inquiry launched on the decline of rural bus services

The County All Party Parliamentary Group (County APPG) and the County Councils Network (CCN) have launched an inquiry into the decline of rural bus services

This inquiry will investigate the decline of rural bus services and make recommendations to Government ahead of the publication of the recently announced National Bus Strategy

A report published in 2018 by the County APPG found that the reduction in bus services is having a negative impact on the social mobility of residents in county areas in terms of access to skills and education. This new inquiry will investigate the decline in funding and provision of rural bus services and highlight the impact that this is having on rural communities.

CCN research shows that funding for bus services has almost halved since 2010, compared to a 19% drop in funding for city regions. This is supported by research from The Campaign for Better Transport who found that over 3,000 bus routes have been reduced, altered or withdrawn between 2010 and 2018. 

The National Bus Strategy and investment of over £5bn in local bus services has the potential to reverse the decline in services and make services more accessible and frequent. However, the County APPG and CCN are launching this inquiry in response to concerns counties may not receive their fair share of resources and do not have the right powers to improve services.  

The inquiry will consider how better connectivity through bus services could assist in the government’s ambition to level-up economic outcomes across the country, improve access to education and healthcare, skills and training, and tackle climate change through improvements to sustainable transport links. Evidence collected through this inquiry will form the basis of a report, which published in June.

- The call for evidence for this inquiry can be accesed here.

MPs are looking for submissions from local authorities, bus operators, and local and national stakeholders on this key issue. The inquiry will be supported by analytical analysis by finance and data specialists LG Futures.

The joint inquiry is open for evidence until Wednesday 15th April 2020. The full terms of reference and full details of the inquiry can be found here. You can also found out more about the County APPG here and about the work of the County Councils Network here.


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