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Bus Services Bill [HL] - Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:18 pm on 24th October 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport) 7:18 pm, 24th October 2016

My Lords, my noble friend has devised a very neat way of assisting bus services in rural areas. The problem that rural bus operators face is the demography of those areas, as they almost always have a very much older profile of bus passenger, which means that those routes rarely carry large numbers of fare-paying passengers. The concessionary recompense given to bus operators is cumbersome and inadequate, and that makes it very difficult for rural operators to make a profit. There is a long record of rural operators going out of business. We are suggesting a weighting towards rural areas that would hardly be felt by operators in urban areas because the actual number of rural passengers is very low as a percentage of the total. For rural operators this scheme could be the difference between survival and going out of business. I urge the Minister to respond positively to the efforts made by my noble friend Lord Bradshaw to suggest a mechanism to support bus services in rural areas.