There is a saying, is there not that says ” Death by a thousand cuts”, now I never really knew if that meant that one met one’s maker in a rather unpleasant Game of Thrones style where one’s mortal remains were sliced a thousand times. Or if it meant that the end was a long slow almost unnoticed demise that crept upon the hapless victim before it was too late and suddenly the lights went out, and that was it.
However, having read a report that has just been published by Transport Extra it appears as if I have found out just what death by a thousand cuts really looks like, and it sadly looks like this. The UK Bus industry is slowly but surely being strangled by a double almost invisible killer.
On the one hand over 500 bus routes have been hit by cuts with no less than 10 councils not supporting any local bus services. This is as a direct result of councils having to save over 30 million pounds due to central government inflicting savage cuts in spending on the back of the austerity logic over the last nine years.
Add into the mix, the worsening urban congestion around the towns and cities of the UK and you have a double whammy. The truth is that the campaign for Better Transport having done over 100 Freedom of Information requests have concluded that supported bus services were cut by a staggering 11% compared to the previous year, and even worse the total reduction in supported bus services across the UK since 2010 is down by 33%. That is 1 in 3 once supported bus services now gone completely.
Now, in ten areas supported bus services have gone, like the dodo, and are extinct, these areas are Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Cumbria, Stoke-on Trent, Luton, Southend-on Sea, Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot, and Wrexham. To add to the woe, these areas are not without their own share of social deprivation, and this can only make things worse, as the most vulnerable and needy have no transport.
The Campaign wants people to lobby MPs to get urgent amendments to the Buses Bill to try to reverse this dangerous decline in public transport. None of which is helped in any way, shape, or form, by the additional factors of bus decline like, home deliveries, uber journeys, and reduced town centre footfall.
I think that I have depressed myself enough now so I’m off to the pub via the bus while I still can…barman make mine a large double (like cuts and congestion)