Luke Hall has called on South Gloucestershire Council to step in and protect the vital 84 and 85 bus services, calling it ‘a lifeline for local villages.’
New Government funding of up to £300 million has been announced, to protect bus services across the UK into 2025 and keep bus travel affordable for commuters and families. With many bus services still facing considerable pressures and the risk of cancellation continuing to loom over South Gloucestershire, local MP has welcomed further investment that could provide a lifeline to key rural services.
Luke Hall has called on South Gloucestershire Council to protect the 84 and 85 services, which serve towns and villages including Charfield, Cromhall, Wickwar, Hawkesbury and Chipping Sodbury, Horton and Yate, but is under threat of being removed. The previous, Conservative led Council, provided funding to support the service because of its importance to the community and the number of residents who depend on the connection for employment, education and access to health services.
With new and extra funding now announced by the Department for Transport, Luke has stated the new Council incoming Council administration, alongside the West of England Mayor, must continue to back this service and ensure it continues into the foreseeable future.
Luke Hall said, “The Council must not abandon the residents who depend on these vital services. The 84 and 85 are essential bus services, for residents who rely on the service for health appointments, for commuters and of for pupils who rely on these services for school.”
“The Conservative run Council stepped in and did their bit by providing the required funding to keep the service going in the immediate future. It is now for WECA and the incoming Council leadership to take action and protect these bus services.” Conservative Group Leader on South Gloucestershire Council, Samuel Bromiley said, “This additional investment into rural bus services is hugely welcome news. The previous Conservative-run administration at South Gloucestershire Council worked hard to protect what bus services we could in the face of widespread cuts by the Labour WECA Mayor.”
“With the transport levy that the three councils send to WECA every year, and now with this additional investment from central government, the WECA Mayor simply cannot continue to say that no money is available for public transport.
“Rather than continuing to waste public money on swanky new office blocks and large increases in back office staff, I urge the WECA Mayor to use this funding wisely and continue to support the 84/85 services – plus as many others as possible.”
In addition to the £300m being made available to local Councils to protect bus services, the Government has also confirmed that they will capping single bus fares at £2 outside London until the end of October 2023 and then at £2.50 until 30 November 2024.