The services, covering all areas of the county, are typically routes and times that would not be commercially viable, so we subsidise them. These can be first thing in the morning, extra frequency during the day, or rural or evening services.
Increased fuel and operating costs along with driver shortages have pushed the contract prices up significantly, which we are meeting. The total cost of supporting these routes will be £6.498m, an increase of £1.848m on previous years.
Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, said:
“Without our support, many of our communities would be without critical bus services either first thing in the morning, during the evening, or at weekends as they are just not attractive enough for a commercial operator to run.
“They are typically used by people going to work or school or college, or to get to health appointments.
“We are faced with a large increase in costs for these services, as all bus operators are paying more for fuel and parts and struggling with the national shortage of bus drivers, but this is a cost that we must meet to help support our rural communities.
“Nationally bus passenger numbers have not yet returned to pre Covid levels, so in supporting these services we hope we will encourage more people to use them and I would urge all residents to start using the buses available on a more regular basis.