The Petition of residents of Brafferton,
Declares that the Petitioners believe that in order to maintain a reliable rural transport network in Darlington Borough, additional funding needs to be provided for rural bus services.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that there is funding in place to maintain the provision of reliable rural bus services in the Darlington Borough.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Phil Wilson, Official Report, 12 June 2012; Vol. 546, c. 295.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 26 June 2012:
The Coalition Government continue to provide significant funds for local bus services in Darlington and elsewhere through bus subsidy for operators and via the national concessionary travel entitlement, which was protected in the budget.
In addition, the Government have recently made significant amounts available to support bus services, providing £115 million of funding to local bus companies and local transport authorities to provide better, cleaner and greener bus services. This considerable sum underlines the Government’s firm commitment to investment in transport infrastructure and so tackling congestion and decarbonising transport.
In many rural areas, community transport can play a valuable role in preventing isolation. I therefore strongly encourage local councils to work in partnership with operators and local communities to examine how more flexible services might be provided.
To facilitate this, my Department has, in the past year alone, allocated £20 million of funding for community transport in rural areas, of which Darlington Borough Council received a £37,100 share.
I recognise that local councils are making difficult decisions in the light of reductions in revenue support from Government, but they do have almost total discretion about which services to value when budgeting for the future. These are decisions which must be made locally, in consultation with the public.