Councillor Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, has cautiously welcomed yesterday’s Government announcement to provide some additional funding for local public transport services, but expressed fears that it is simply ‘too little, too late’.
The Government has said that some funding would continue until October 2022, but details on amount of financial support or plans for post-October were not included.
Cllr Morley said: “Whilst any additional funding for local transport is welcome, this has come just too late and the damage has already been done in some areas. Last weekend, residents in some part of the district saw routes being axed. These cuts, were instigated by bus operators in response to the financial situation and run the risk of having a crippling impact on residents who depend on them to get around the district and wider region.
“I hope this new funding will enable bus operators to get back on track, but I am also concerned this funding is a such a short-term measure. We need to see stability in longer-term investment, to ensure that we provide our communities with the assurance that the bus routes will continue because they are a lifeline to so many.
“There is also a huge question mark about how much money is available and what will be done to keep these services running when the money stops in October. Until this is made clear, I am concerned that it could be too little, too late.”
“Wakefield Council continues to work with West Yorkshire Combined Authority to lobby for more funding for local public transport.”
Cllr Morley added: “I’d like to thank the Mayor for her efforts in lobbying for funding, and we will continue discussions to try secure a reliable and convenient bus service for all residents across the district.”