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Rural Transport Services

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many rural bus services have (a) stopped and (b) been suspended indefinitely in each year since 1997. (78204)

The total numbers of local bus service cancellations is given in the following table. It is not possible to identify which of the services cancelled were rural bus services.

Total number of bus service cancellations

Total number of new services introduced

1997-98

4,283

5,081

1998-99

4,385

5,813

1999-2000

6,224

4,718

2000-01

4,533

4,746

2001-02

3,947

5,108

2002-03

3,420

4,537

2003-04

3,271

4,581

2004-05

3,190

4,562

Total

33,253

39,146

Note: GB figures, taken from Traffic Commissioner annual reports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bus passenger miles in rural areas were undertaken in (a) 1997 and (b) 2005; and how many of these were supported by public funds. (78205)

The Department does not hold information on passenger miles for all rural areas in the form requested, and it is not possible to identify total local authority support for rural services. However, in 1998, in recognition of the particular needs of rural areas, we introduced specific funding for the support of rural bus services through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG). The grant is distributed to local authorities on the basis of their rural population. Total grant for England has risen from £32.5 million in 1998 to £54.3 million in 2006. The grant has provided for over 2,000 new and enhanced services.