The Urban Transport Group has responded to the UK government’s Levelling Up White Paper by welcoming the commitment to devolving more transport power to local transport authorities, but warning that continuing investment in recovering from Covid is required to maintain bus services.
Laura Shoaf, chair, Urban Transport Group and chief executive, West Midlands Combined Authority, says: “Devolving more powers over transport is the right approach as mayors, leaders and local transport authorities are far better placed to make the right calls than command and control from Whitehall.
“However, we need to see this translated into action, including on the devolution of more powers over local rail networks, over bus funding, as well as less micro-management of our capital investment programmes.
“We welcome the investment that the government is making in the future of bus services which will bring real benefits in some places. However, those same bus networks face a more immediate challenge which is the ending of additional Covid revenue support from 1 April. This is one reason why we are already seeing service cuts and inevitably there will be more to come without a sustainable, longer term revenue support package for the bus.”