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RSN response - Prime Minister's promises on bus and cycle routes

The Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network wrote a letter which was published in the Guardian this week on 13th February 2020

It was in response to announcements from the Prime Minister that he had promised ‘an additional £5bn on buses and cycle routes’ as part of discussions about HS2

The letter reads as follows:

It is welcome to see the government promise much-needed funding for local bus services – a mode of transport that is often a lifeline to those living in rural communities (Johnson clears way to approve HS2 with £5bn overhaul of bus services, 11 February). It’s greatly disappointing that only 4% of journeys made last year were by bus, despite it being an efficient and environmentally friendly option.

In the last year alone, we’ve seen more than 240 bus routes closed or cut, thanks to a lack of funding. Where bus services do exist, they are often infrequent or unavailable outside of peak times. The situation is all the more dire in the shires and rural areas, where people are forced to rely on cars to access vital services like hospitals and shops. There simply aren’t the buses to take them from A to B.

I look forward to the publication of the national bus strategy, but, as ever, the devil will be in the detail. It will be crucial that bus routes that have been slashed in recent years are restored. Years of inadequate rural policies and public sector austerity have been hugely damaging to our rural towns and villages. If these communities are to be sustainable for the future, working out how to revitalise our bus network must be a top priority.

Graham Biggs
Chief Executive of Rural Services Network

Full article:

The Guardian - A much-needed drive to improve rural bus links

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