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MK Labour calls on Government to prevent bus service cuts

The Conservative Government has come under fire for planning to cease its emergency public transport fund when already-underfunded private bus operators are facing continued financial pressure.

MK Labour is calling on the Government to increase funding for public transport as the cost to run a single bus on a fixed route has increased by around 63%.

This year, at a time of soaring inflation, driver shortages and crippling fuel prices, it means that even an individual route could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to subsidise.

Labour’s Councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Public Transport, said:

“Public transport is a vital part of any community, and it is disgusting that the Conservative Government is continuing to underfund something that is a lifeline for some of our most vulnerable residents. The Government need to step in and support these private bus companies, as if the direction of travel continues, we could see even more cuts to routes and unwelcomed price increases.

“The Council does all it can to support our public transport, such as offering concessionary payments for older and disabled people, but we could not subsidise masses of routes given our projected £11m budget gap next year.”

The Government’s £150m emergency transport fund has provided post-pandemic financial support for private bus and rail companies across the country, but this is due to end in October. MK Labour is now calling for it to be extended.

Councillor Wilson-Marklew concluded: “Since 2010, this Conservative Government have reduced the Council’s funding by a third. We have had to make over £170m in savings and cuts. This sheer lack of funding is sadly the same reality for the country’s other vital services, like our public transport, so I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to prolong the support package and review overall funding for public transport before it is too late.”

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