Phantom lockdown causing irreparable damage to bus network, warns Metro Mayor

“Irreparable damage” will be caused to the region’s bus service unless the government acts now, Metro Mayor Dan Norris said today.

He was speaking at a meeting of the West of England Combined Authority’s Joint Committee. The meeting heard how 33 bus routes are under threat across the region, as we reported in Issue 708.

They include the 178 Bristol to Radstock route and the 37 Bristol to Bath service via the A431 which will become a bus service for Oldfield School pupils only.

Emergency funding brought in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when passenger numbers collapsed is ending. However, bus usage and so fare revenue has not recovered and the new Omicron variant  threatens this further.

Attending the meeting, transport campaigner David Redgewell said: “Buses can’t run on fresh air”.

Mayor Dan Norris reported that Transport Minister Baroness Vere had told him she “recognises the ongoing challenges faced by operators and local transport authorities” but he believed they were “warm words” while what was needed was “hard cash”.

He said: “I fear there will be irreparable damage to our bus network unless the government acts now. I will continue to press the government hard to do the right thing and confirm their continued funding support before irreversible decisions are taken which would be deeply disruptive to passengers and harm our ability to reach our ambitious net zero targets.”

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