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The report found that more than half of small rural towns in these regions are now transport deserts or are on the brink of becoming one, meaning that driving a car is often the only way to get around. This is leaving older people cut-off and isolated, shrinking opportunities for younger people, and trapping low income households between debt and unemployment.
Transport deserts are not inevitable and, in the summary, they have set out a series of policies they want to see the government to adopt in order to reconnect rural communities with affordable, reliable, and convenient public transport.
That is why CPRE, the countryside charity is calling for:
2.1. A guaranteed multi-year investment in rural transport specifically allocated to local authorities to spend on supporting public transport provision for rural communities that currently need better connections.
2.2. Allocated on the basis of the proportion of a local authorities’ population living in rural areas and small hub towns.
2.3. Available for both revenue and capital spending so that the money can either be used for investing in local infrastructure, or subsidising new or expanded services such as bus routes.
2.4. Not linked to one specific mode of transport provision so that local authorities are able to choose solutions that work best for their communities and trial innovative models such as demand responsive transport, and mobility as a service.
The CPRE, Countryside Charity launched their report in the House of Commons on 12th Feb and more information can be seen here:
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