Funding free bus passes is becoming “nearly impossible” for councils, the Local Government Association has warned, as the number of journeys taken falls to a 12 year low.
Older and disabled bus users have been told by the LGA that subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services is a nearly insurmountable task.
Free bus passes are protected by law for over-65’s and disabled customers, but with less money being committed by the government councils are struggling to fulfill their statutory duties of providing good, reliable services with passenger numbers dropping significantly.
Local authority bus budgets in England and Wales were slashed by £20.5 million last year – the eighth consecutive annual cut.
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Bus travel has fallen to its lowest demand since 2006, and ten per cent fewer journeys being taken than ten years ago.