Don Foster MP*

Tax Payers' Subsidy For Empty Buses Is Wrong

Don Foster MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, supporting the Commission for Integrated Transportís call for a radical overhaul of bus subsidies today released figures demonstrating the failings of the current fuel duty rebate system for buses.

Main ImageThe figures show that while subsidies have increased by 6% in real terms between 1997 and 2001, passenger numbers outside London have fallen by 10%. The figures also show that the distance travelled by buses has remained largely static.

Mr Foster said:

"Public money is being used to keep ever emptier buses on the road rather than focussing on measures to attract people out of their cars and onto our buses. Subsidies must be moved away from supporting bus companies to supporting the journey maker.

"Free off peak travel for all over 60s and half price fares at all times for 16-19 year old students must play a part of any realistic socially inclusive transport plan. This must be coupled with a bus subsidy scheme based largely on passenger numbers rather than distances travelled.

"Increasing public awareness of available bus services and improving safety for passengers waiting at bus stops and stations would also encourage people to use British buses.

Commenting on CFIT proposals for much greater work to be done on home school transport schemes, Don Foster said:

"20% of rush hour traffic is created by parents driving their children to school, yet the Government is failing to take sufficient interest in the trials of yellow school buses currently under way. The Government must begin thinking innovatively about the problems facing British transport system if we are to see any genuine improvements."


Notes to Editors follow..

Notes to Editors

Bus subsidies are incorrectly misdirected towards bus companies rather than the passenger

∑ Between 1997 and 2001 in England (excluding London) the total subsidy to the Bus Industry increased 6%, but passenger journeys fell 10% whilst the total length of bus journeys increased only 0.6%.

∑ Over the same time in London, the total subsidy to the bus industry has increased 67%. However, at the same time the number of bus journeys have increased 28%.

Buses in England (Excluding London)

1997 2001 % Change

Distance travelled by buses 1.78bn 1.76bn +0.6%

Number of passenger journeys 2.48bn 2.36bn -10%

Total passenger receipts £1.8bn £1.84bn +2%

Total subsidy £512m £585m +6%

Percentage of money to bus industry that is subsidy 22% 24%

Subsidy per bus km £0.29 £0.33 +15%

Subsidy per passenger journey £0.21 £0.25 +20%

Buses in London

1997 2001 % Change

Distance travelled by buses 362m 380m +5%

Number of passenger journeys 1.29bn 1.43bn +28%

Total passenger receipts £570m £695m +22%

Total subsidy £189m £315m +67%

Percentage of money to bus industry that is subsidy 25% 31%

Subsidy per bus km £0.55 £0.83 +51%

Subsidy per passenger journey £0.17 £0.22 +30%

This article published: 02/12/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank


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