The Petition of residents of the Plymouth, Moor View constituency and others,
Declares that the petitioners are unhappy with the decision to withdraw the taxibus service that serves the residents in the north of Plymouth; notes that residents in St Budeaux and Weston Mill use this bus to access their GP surgery, dentist, shops and other community facilities; and further declares that the withdrawal of this service will cause major inconvenience to residents.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage local authorities to support local taxibus services to avoid these vital public transport services being removed.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Alison Seabeck, Official Report, 26 July 2010; Vol. 514, c. 834 .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 16 August 2010:
The Government are aware of the important role that bus services play for those who have no access to a car, particularly in less accessible urban and rural areas The majority of bus services outside London—some 80%—are provided on a commercial basis by private operators and decisions on the extent and frequency of services and the type of vehicle used are mainly a matter for the commercial judgment of the operator concerned. Local authorities do have powers to subsidise bus services where these are not being provided commercially. It is essentially a matter for individual authorities to decide which services are most appropriate for support in their respective areas. I understand that Plymouth Council is aware of the concerns raised by residents over the withdrawal of these services.
In recognition of the particular needs of rural communities, specific funding has been provided to improve public transport in rural areas previously not well served. Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG) was introduced in 1998-99 for the provision of new or enhanced local bus services in England, this is allocated to local authorities on a population based formula. It is then for each authority to decide which services and communities to support. The total funding available for the financial year 2010-11 is £60 million which is now paid to local authorities as part of their area-based funding. The allocation to Plymouth City Council is £17,642. It is a matter for the authority how to make use of that funding.