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Decline in financial support for public transport should be stopped - Farron

January 23, 2015 1:02 PM

Tim with local residents at the modern bus shelter in Chapel StitleSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has highlighted research from the Campaign for Better Transport that shows that Cumbria County Council has cut the most financial support to public transport of all North West authorities. Tim has today urged the council to support a series of proposals he thinks that will help arrest the decline in financial support for public transport in the county.

Research by the Campaign for Better Transport shows that Cumbria County Council has cut spending on supported bus routes in 2014-15 by 44%. Cumbria County Council agreed at its budget meeting in February 2014 to withdraw all subsidies for scheduled bus services.

Tim has proposed a series of measures, some included in the research by the Campaign for Better Transport, that he thinks we need to see locally.

Tim's proposals are:

  • Joint Commissioning of Travel services - helping to make sure our transport network is more integrated, cost effective and will allow us to deal with a variety of local authorities, councils (county, district and parish) and the National Park.
  • More support from bus companies for fares for job seekers and the unemployed. This would allow them to get the bus and help them access support, help and potentially employment.
  • Later running bus services - especially to and from places of education and around estates in Kendal. Tim believes a pilot should be carried on and has suggested Parks and Hallgarth estates in Kendal to show that later buses are commercially viable.
  • Allow Cumbria County Councillors to give funding from their Local Member Scheme budget, should they wish, to support bus services in their areas. Currently council rules prohibit that. Each county councillor has £10,000 to award on one or a number of projects or improvement works within the councillor's electoral division.

Tim said: "Rural bus routes are a lifeline to many of our rural communities and this research should be a wake-up call. I have proposed a series of concrete steps that I think we protect and I hope extend our bus routes and services throughout the county. I am urging councils and others to pick up the baton and do more on this issue.

"Everyone from pensioners to students use our public transport network. It is a vital resource and it must be protected. I will keep doing all I can to press for funding from the government for our public transport system but we can do things today, ourselves to improve it."

Buses in crisis: A report on bus funding across England and Wales 2010 - 2015 written by the Campaign for Better Transport can be found here: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/sites/default/files/research-files/Buses_In_Crisis_Report_2014_Final.pdf