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Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much he has allocated to dial-a-ride systems operated by local authorities in each of the last three years. (144269)

The Department does not allocate funds specifically for dial-a-ride type services.

The majority of support for local bus services, some £350 million a year outside London, is provided by local authorities using the Government's revenue support grant (RSG). As well as conventional bus services, RSG is used by local authorities to support dial-a-ride type services or other demand responsive transport (DRT). Decisions on which services to support are a matter for individual authorities.

The Department also provides support for rural bus services through rural bus subsidy grant (RBSG). The grant to local authorities in England—£55.6 million in 2007-08—can also be used to support DRT type services.

Several DRT services benefited from the department's rural and urban bus challenge programme between 1998 and 2003. In total the challenge provided £160 million to over 400 schemes around the country.

We have also changed the bus route registration rules to encourage flexibly routed, demand responsive bus services and made these services eligible for bus service operators grant (BSOG) from the Department. Community transport organisations are a major provider of dial-a-ride and DRT services and many receive funding through BSOG.