A man in a face mask and gloves driving a bus

Bus Users seeks reassurance from DfT over ‘cliff-edge’ in Covid Recovery funding

Bus Users Chief Executive, Claire Walters, has written an open letter to Sharon Maddix, Deputy Director Local Transport at the Department for Transport (DfT).

The letter raises concerns over devastating cuts to bus services planned to coincide with the end of Covid Recovery funding expected at the end of March 2022.

Letter to Sharon Maddix, Deputy Director Local Transport, DfT

I am writing to seek reassurance from you on behalf of the millions of UK bus passengers now facing serious disruption to their services.

As you are aware, bus operators are currently registering major reductions in services ahead of the cliff-edge in Covid Recovery funding expected at the end of March. This process has been brought forward with the shorter notice options available during the pandemic now at an end.

Operators have been registering frequencies reduced to a Saturday or Sunday service and in many parts of the country, to no service at all. Such cuts have devastating impacts on the lives of people who have no viable alternative means of transport. The social isolation which will inevitably follow will result in far higher costs to local authorities and the NHS at a time when neither has any spare capacity.

The picture is further complicated by the driver shortages due to Covid. While this is hopefully a temporary situation, the long-term future is very bleak if a funding extension is not announced soon, enabling those who provide our services to plan ahead with confidence until passenger numbers return to a viable level.

The current position seems completely counter to Government policy on transport and will cause enormous damage to the Bus Back Better Strategy, the Levelling-Up Strategy and the National Disability Strategy.

I look forward to hearing that the Department has reached agreement with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury on a positive way forward which will preserve a useful level of bus provision for passengers reliant on their existence.

Bus Users 2022-12-16T10:04:49+00:00