5:20 PM August 19, 2022
A number of Suffolk bus services have been given a temporary lifeline after the government unveiled a £130m nationwide support package.
Before the Department for Transport’s announcement on Friday afternoon, networks across the county were facing cuts as Suffolk County Council planned to reduce support for bus companies.
The council had taken the decision to cut costs as government support put in place to help bus companies through Covid looked set to end in October.
It was unclear which roads or areas would have been affected, but news of new funding came as a welcome relief for services across the county.
Councilor Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Transport Strategy and Waste, said: ‘I very much welcome a further cash boost to support our bus services and routes very important here in Suffolk.
“Reliable, efficient and affordable public transport is key to encouraging people in Suffolk to get out of the car and onto the bus, which plays a very important role in reducing carbon emissions in our county.
“We will continue to work with our service providers to ensure we can provide the best possible bus services to Suffolk residents.”
The £130million package will see the funds distributed to bus services across the country during the six months from October to March.
The Department for Transport said the additional funding will help protect bus services and routes, which are particularly important for people facing pressure from the rising cost of living.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This funding will ensure millions of people across the country can continue to use vital bus services and bring the total we have provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to nearly £2 billion.
“At a time when people are worried about rising costs, it is more important than ever to preserve these bus routes for the millions of people who depend on them for work, school and shopping.”
The government says it also plans to invest £3bn in bus services by 2025, including over £1bn to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and £525m extra pounds for zero-emission buses.