Large drop in bus journeys taken in Peterborough

A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough
A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough
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Fewer people are taking buses in Peterborough, data reveals.

The latest Department for Transport data shows there were 9.6 million bus passenger journeys between April 2017 and March 2018, 500,000 fewer than in the previous year.

In Peterborough, central and local government spent £780,000 on local bus services during the 12 months to March 2018 – a 31 per cent decrease in eight years.

Nearly half of all bus routes in England receive partial or complete subsidies from councils.

The Local Government Association has warned these services are at risk unless councils are given more funding.

In Peterborough, 27 per cent of the local bus passengers journeys were taken by elderly or disabled people with some kind of discount in 2017/18.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: “The number of bus journeys being made in Peterborough has decreased in recent years, mirroring figures for many towns and cities across the country.

“Since 2010 the council has experienced substantial cuts in funding from central government and has had to make difficult decisions to protect frontline services. Like many councils, we have unfortunately had little choice but to reduce the amount we spend on subsidised bus services.

“However, during the past decade we have invested substantially in sustainable transport, including improvements to the city’s cycle networks and installing electric car charging points. We remain fully committed to considering the environmental impact of everything we do and promoting the importance of healthy lifestyles.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Buses are vital for connecting people, homes and businesses, which is why we help subsidise costs by around £250 million every year and support local authority spending.

“Local authorities spend a further £1 billion on the free bus pass scheme, benefiting older and disabled people across the country.

“We have also recently published our plans to make bus travel more convenient for passengers by ensuring better access to real-time information on fares, routes and services.”

Across England, local bus passenger journeys decreased by two per cent from 2016/17 to 2017/18, to 4.36 billion journeys.