Labour pledges £1.3bn annually for bus services

Reinstating bus services across the country will provide a lifeline to many people, says Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who has announced new funding of £1.3 billion per year to reverse cuts.

Announcing the new funding on a visit to Nottingham, Labour says that the £1.3 billion per year would be spent to reverse the cuts made to 3,000 bus routes by the Conservatives since 2010 and to fund the expansion of new bus services. Public transport, especially local buses, are particularly important for the elderly, the vulnerable and people living in rural areas who have been totally cut off as a result of their bus services disappearing.

The Campaign for Better Transport reports that local authority bus budgets have been cut by 45 per cent since 2010. The bus pledge mirrors wider Labour plans to put communities in control by bringing local services into public ownership. This includes free bus fares for young people under the age of 25.

Corbyn said: “Bus services have been devastated by nine years of austerity. Thousands of routes have been axed, fares have soared and passenger numbers are in freefall. Local services are a lifeline for many, particularly the elderly and those in rural areas. Cuts have had disastrous consequences for our towns and city centres and for air pollution and the environment. Bus networks are essential for towns and cities and for tackling rural poverty and isolation, which is why Labour is committed to creating thriving bus networks under public ownership.”

The number of local bus passenger journeys in England fell by 85 million to 4.36 billion in the year ending March 2018, according to Department for Transport figures.