Bus Services: Rural Areas

Transport written question – answered on 14th October 2010.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith Conservative, Skipton and Ripon

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on ensuring continued access to bus services for rural communities.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

It is local authorities that are best placed to ensure that rural communities are able to access jobs and essential services-by bus, by flexible services such as dial-a-ride, or by bringing services directly to the door. They have a statutory duty to produce local transport plans, which we believe remain the best way for authorities to plan transport strategy and delivery.

In areas where frequent public transport services are not commercially viable, the voluntary and community sector have a large role to play in delivering long-term sustainable alternatives. The Government are committed to supporting partnership working between local authorities, commercial providers and the voluntary sector that delivers tailor-made local services.

Rather than prescribing one method from Whitehall, we will therefore provide greater funding freedoms and flexibilities at a local level. As part of this approach, the Government recently announced a Local Sustainable Transport Fund which will support local transport and encourage more sustainable travel solutions based on local need.

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