To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the number of bus services that have closed in the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the effects of changes to the concessionary travel scheme on the viability of local bus services.
There have been 3,385 existing bus registration cancellations in 2013-14 to date (with five days of the reporting period remaining). This is a reduction on the previous two years. There were also 3,303 new bus service registrations processed by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner across the same 12-month period.
Concessionary travel should have no impact on the viability of local bus services as reimbursement to bus operators is not a means to support services which are not viable on a commercial basis. Legislation requires travel concession authorities (TCAs) to ensure that bus operators are left "no better off and no worse off' as a consequence of taking part in the mandatory travel concession. In general, TCAs set their schemes each year and they have discretion to decide whether or not to offer more than the mandatory concession in their own scheme areas.