Rising car use and cuts to public funding are being blamed for a loss of 134 million miles of coverage over the past decade alone.
Some cut-off communities have taken to starting their own services, with Wales and north-west England hardest hit.
The government has encouraged councils and bus companies to work together to halt the decline.
One lobbying group fears the scale of the miles lost are a sign buses are on course to be cut to the same extent railways were in the 1960s.
During that decade thousands of miles of track were scrapped and hundreds of stations closed following a report by British Railways Board chairman Dr Richard Beeching.
Chris Todd, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We are not talking a loss of that level, but we are heading that way.
“We live in a society that is quite prepared to completely abandon certain groups of people and leave them with no options of getting around.”
Communities around the UK say the shrinking bus network is leaving people unable to reach basic services such as shops and GP surgeries.
Our comment: How much bigger might the decline in services be without the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme which was introduced nationally in 2008 ? Crises of viability of local bus services throughout England are likely to have arisen from one end of the country to the other.
read more on detailed BBC report
A pensioner is calling for a change in the rules after a friend, who suffers from dementia, was refused a bus ride for losing her pass.
David Hall and pal Margaret were hoping to catch the Fastrack B bus to Dartford town centre on August 4, when they were told the 80-year-old was not allowed on.
The grandmother-of-six had lost her bus pass, which entitles her to free travel, earlier in the week and had visited Dartford Library to buy a new one
She was told the new pass would not arrive for two to three weeks so kept hold of her receipt and had been using it as proof of payment to travel on other buses.
Mr Hall, 75, said: “The bus driver said she wasn’t insured to be on the bus.
Lanacshire Village celebrates
A £1MILLION boost to the bus network in Lancashire has been hailed as ‘fabulous news’ in a village that lost its service.
The new administration at Lancashire County Council has committed to increase the budget to support bus services from £2m to £3m.
A key priority is to restore lost links between communities, particularly in rural areas.
That was the case for about eight months in Sabden, where villagers without access to a car were effectively ‘stranded’’ in 2016.
Other plans include increasing the frequency of services on routes where there is more demand and stabilising the network to support routes that might otherwise disappear.
A GROUP of elderly people feel ‘victimised’ and ‘trapped’ after being forced to pay £1 a day for a formerly free bus.
Pensioners who rely on the number 22 Grant Palmer shopping service bus from into Bedford town are now forced to pay £1 each weekday morning, despite being able to use it for free just a week and a half ago.
This is because Bedford Borough Council is now charging the elderly and disabled with concessionary passes who use the bus before 9.30am , which came into force on February 1.
The scheme was introduced to save the council £100,000 a year in light of what portfolio holder for finance, Michael Headley described as ‘punishing government cuts’.
The council previously claimed single service buses would not be affected by the charges.
Read more at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/pensioners-feel-victimised-by-1-charge-for-their-only-bus-to-town/story-30127613-detail/story.html#5myR6bIrWiWRyzHY.99
The age at which Scots qualify for a free bus pass could be set to rise.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government would hold a consultation on changes to the national concession travel scheme.
He wants to extend it to Modern Apprentices and those on Job Grants and said people who already had passes would retain them.
But he said ministers had to look at the “long-term sustainability” of offering all those over 60 free travel.
The Scotland-wide free bus pass entitlement scheme was introduced in 2006.
The card allows passengers, aged over 60 or disabled, to travel free on local, registered or scheduled long-distance services.
The transport minister has said a public consultation on changes to the current system will be held.
However, he insisted that current holders of the passes would be unaffected.
Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland: “If you’ve got a free bus pass you will continue to have that free bus pass and continue to be able to use that pass in the way that you currently are.
“What we have said is that we want to extend the national travel scheme to Modern Apprentices, to those on a Job Grant, so that some young people, that are in the most need, can also benefit.
“But clearly people are living longer, they are staying in work longer – which are all good things – but it does add a pressure.
Comment just received (August 2016) from a bus pass holder:
“Between 31/6/16 and 2/8/16. Myself and five of my friends went to London, as we have done for the last three years. The problem this year we were unable to use our “oap” free bus passes issued by West Midlands Authority, which we used without problems in the past. We were told we must buy an oyster card.
The same issue is reported to us repeatedly:
LONDON BUS DRIVERS REFUSING VALID BUS PASSES
Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.>
We have raised this with Transport for London several times, and nothing improves. It is very embarrasing for people to be refused what they are entitled to. Our recommendation is to stand your ground and make the bus driver sweat. There is life outside London ! Perhaps we should arrange a march on GLC HQ?
Councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson are campaigning against cuts to the 182 bus service between Rochdale and the Royal Oldham Hospital
A campaign has been launched against ‘draconian’ cuts to a bus service between Rochdale and the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Day time off peak 182 services are to be scrapped from Monday.
Operator First says it’s due to falling passenger numbers.
But campaigner say the service, which begins and ends at the interchange in Rochdale town centre and travels through Milnrow, Newhey, Shaw, Royton and the Royal Oldham Hospital to Manchester, is vital for patients and pensioners.