Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Newton on Ouse Parish Council (BUS 83)

You asked for evidence of the impact of recent public expenditure cuts on local bus services. Our bus service has been thoroughly inadequate for some years, with about nine buses a day. The age structure of our village is skewed towards the older range with a very substantial number of people aged 60 and over, many of whom do not have access to a car. There is no shop in the village, no post office (the nearest two were closed or partially closed last year) and no other amenities other than a pub. For a while, the Parish Council ran a bus for older people going to York for Friday mornings (a 20 mile round journey) but ceased because it was unaffordable.

We have now been informed that the county council subsidy to the local bus is to be substantially withdrawn and that bus service levels in the county are to be "equalised": this effectively means being levelled down to the worst service. The result of this is that we are losing key buses during the day and evening such that some young people will be unable to get to sixth form collage and further education or to go to York for other reasons; and buses will cease altogether between mid-evening Saturday and Monday morning. Others dependent on buses will be unable to visit the city for leisure activities. We are effectively becoming completely isolated community over the weekend. You will now from research of the impact of isolation on the physical and mental health of older people, that this is likely to lead to earlier admission to residential care. Economically, the cuts make no sense whatsoever because against the short term savings we can envisage long-term costs. Given the costs of petrol now, providing an adequate and reliable bus service makes clear economic and environmental sense.

Ours is not the only rural area to suffer this loss and potentially disastrous impact. We ask the Committee to recommend strongly that county councils covering deeply rural areas such as ours should be provided with adequate subsidies to enable an effective, socially useful, affordable and reliable bus service. Consultation incidentally was derisory. We asked to meet the operators and county council to discuss our concerns and this request was met with a blank refusal. Consultation here means being told what is going to happen and putting up with it.

March 2011

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 11 August 2011