25 Mar 2011

Services slashed in the North East

Bus passengers across the North East face a bleak future of massive fare hikes and "vanishing" services, an inquiry by MPs was told on Tuesday.
Council chiefs and bus firms warned of a "perfect financial storm" about to strike, because of simultaneous cuts to town hall funding, bus grants and concessionary fare schemes.
Fares in some areas - including Teesside and North Yorkshire - will raise by an eye-watering ten per cent this year, one bus giant told the transport select committee.
Meanwhile, rural services are disappearing rapidly. More than 70 routes are expected to be scrapped or reduced in County Durham, with nearly 30 services under threat in North Yorkshire.
Durham has also backed plans to charge the elderly and disabled 50p for local bus travel before 9.30am, on weekdays - and free school bus passes are being lined up for the axe in both areas.
Town halls have suffered cuts of up to 28 per cent in transport grants, while the fuel subsidy paid to bus operators will shrink by 20 per cent from next January.

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