Government asked to help save Dorset's rural bus services

Dorset Echo: MP Richard Drax has asked the government to ringfence money for rural buses MP Richard Drax has asked the government to ringfence money for rural buses

BUS services across Dorset will be drastically reduced unless the government takes action, South Dorset MP Richard Drax has warned.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, he asked for the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) to continue beyond 2017 to ensure residents in the remote parts of Dorset have a service.

The BSOG enables bus operators to claim back fuel duty from the government so that they are able to continue rural bus services on which they makes a loss.

But the funding source has only been ringfenced until 2017, and ‘operators in South Dorset are warning that any further cuts will inevitably lead to service reductions right across the bus network.’ MP Drax asked whether ‘governments of all colours have a duty to preserve some form of service—preferably, as many of my colleagues have suggested, a better-integrated service, but at least a service —to support those who live in rural areas?’ He said rural bus services provide a ‘genuine lifeline for many’ and ‘we must do all we can to protect them.’ MP Drax added: “May I ask the Government to consider a fairer way of sharing the financial burden of concessionary travel across the United Kingdom?

“I am thinking especially of counties such as Dorset, where tourism effectively penalises bus operators. As I said, Dorset is a major tourist attraction, but it suffers a great deal more than other counties that may not attract so many visitors. Our bus companies are, in effect, being paid a third of the price of a ticket.

"The overall benefits of buses need hardly be rehearsed.

"Last year five billion journeys were made in the United Kingdom, a fifth of them by commuters.

“Those benefits, social and economic, are incontrovertible. Residents of rural areas spend between 20 and 30 percent more on transport than their city counterparts.

“The need is there, and in some cases it is desperate.”

 

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Dorset, Simon Bowkett, said: "While I welcome Mr Drax’s apparent concern on this issue, I would urge him to move away from gesture politics in Westminster and to use his platform to bring real change right here in Dorset.

"Since his government came to power in 2010 local authority bus subsidies across shire counties and unitary authorities have been cut by 23% in real terms, and in Dorset the County Council - led by councillors from Mr Drax’s own party - has agreed budget cuts to our local bus subsidies of £850,000 – leaving Dorset’s bus subsidy budget at £2.15 million, half the average subsidy of over £4 million for other shire county councils.”

 

Comments (3)

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5:45pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Dorset Guy1 says...

The people who need to use busses and those who could use a bus rather than a car for journeys need to make their feelings known or we will end up with only profitable commercial services between main towns at peak times.
The bus companies are doing there best to provide a service but are not allowed to cross subsidise loss making services, and are not reimbursed the full cost of concession pass holders indeed it can be as low as 70p for journeys costing several pounds ie Exeter to Poole
The people who need to use busses and those who could use a bus rather than a car for journeys need to make their feelings known or we will end up with only profitable commercial services between main towns at peak times. The bus companies are doing there best to provide a service but are not allowed to cross subsidise loss making services, and are not reimbursed the full cost of concession pass holders indeed it can be as low as 70p for journeys costing several pounds ie Exeter to Poole Dorset Guy1
  • Score: 1

8:36pm Wed 30 Apr 14

trymybest says...

l know of a lot of people who have Dorset county council issued concession bus pass that can be used all over, except Scotland. So why can't a Dorset issued pass be used in Dorset only, and any visiting pass holder would not be able to use their pass here, which would mean they would have to pay for their tickets and give the local buses more cash through out, Dorset pass holder would have to buy a bus ticket outside Dorset.
l know of a lot of people who have Dorset county council issued concession bus pass that can be used all over, except Scotland. So why can't a Dorset issued pass be used in Dorset only, and any visiting pass holder would not be able to use their pass here, which would mean they would have to pay for their tickets and give the local buses more cash through out, Dorset pass holder would have to buy a bus ticket outside Dorset. trymybest
  • Score: 1

10:59am Thu 1 May 14

Dorset Guy1 says...

trymybest wrote:
l know of a lot of people who have Dorset county council issued concession bus pass that can be used all over, except Scotland. So why can't a Dorset issued pass be used in Dorset only, and any visiting pass holder would not be able to use their pass here, which would mean they would have to pay for their tickets and give the local buses more cash through out, Dorset pass holder would have to buy a bus ticket outside Dorset.
That is how it was before politicians decided the scheme would be better if your pass worked everywhere It no doubt got a lot of votes which is no doubt why especially at this time in the life of parliament nobody will seriously want to change it now- That said the reimbursement of bus operators does need some serious rethinking however they seem reluctant to do this which suggests to me that curtailment is on the cards no matter which party get in in 2015
[quote][p][bold]trymybest[/bold] wrote: l know of a lot of people who have Dorset county council issued concession bus pass that can be used all over, except Scotland. So why can't a Dorset issued pass be used in Dorset only, and any visiting pass holder would not be able to use their pass here, which would mean they would have to pay for their tickets and give the local buses more cash through out, Dorset pass holder would have to buy a bus ticket outside Dorset.[/p][/quote]That is how it was before politicians decided the scheme would be better if your pass worked everywhere It no doubt got a lot of votes which is no doubt why especially at this time in the life of parliament nobody will seriously want to change it now- That said the reimbursement of bus operators does need some serious rethinking however they seem reluctant to do this which suggests to me that curtailment is on the cards no matter which party get in in 2015 Dorset Guy1
  • Score: 0

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