Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart has met with the Secretary of State for Transport to press him for greater support for Rural Bus Services by rebalancing the funding formula to recognise the higher cost of running buses in Rural areas.
Mr Stuart, who also chairs the nationwide Rural Fair Share campaign, explained to the Minister the detrimental impact the 20% reduction in the Bus Service Operators Grant in April 2012 has had on bus services in East Yorkshire.
Commenting Graham said, “Last year East Yorkshire Motor Service lost £436k from their budget due to these cuts, as a result some service became commercially unviable and have been closed down and other routes have had their service limited.
“The Rural Fair Share Campaign recognises that there is no additional funding, it simply asks for a re-balancing of the formula, which currently sees urban authorities receiving 50% more funding per head than rural authorities. This on top of the fact that it is generally recognised that it costs much more to deliver services in rural areas, and bus services are no exception.”
Chairman of East Yorkshire Motor Services, Peter Shipp said, “I welcome Graham’s comments and hope they bear fruit. As a local independent bus operator with many rural routes we have no need for big profits and with the support of our local authorities we have so far managed to keep many services going which might otherwise have been lost.
“Big service cuts have happened in many other rural areas but even in the East Riding the situation is going to be tougher next year. Not only have we lost the 20% of BSOG, but payment to operators for carrying passengers free under the deeply flawed concessionary travel scheme is going to be reduced yet again in the next financial year as local authorities including the East Riding struggle with their big cuts in Government grants”
Picture: Graham Stuart MP with the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin