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Extent of emergency bus support revealed

Commercial bus routes are being propped up across Staffordshire following large-scale intervention.


Although Staffordshire County Council does not run bus services, it committed to a one-off, 12-month support of vulnerable routes until autumn 2023 while operators try and rebuild local support.


Now the extent of the routes under threat is becoming clear and covers many parts of the county.


David Williams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “Around 95 per cent of bus services in Staffordshire are entirely commercial and many of these have been running at a loss for some time.


“This one-off intervention is intended to tide operators over the difficult times while they attract passengers back and to also ensure people can still get to work, school, or college especially when the cost of living is so high.”


The county council’s one-off support will potentially be worth more than £900,000, on top of the £8 million spent in the sector annually by the authority, not including home to school transport.


Services kept on the road by this support so far include:

  • 32, 401, 406 and ‘Swift’, which link Uttoxeter to Hanley via Cheadle, to Burton, and to Derby, while maintaining a round-Uttoxeter town service.

  • 2, 3, 5, 7E and 765, connecting Tamworth with Perry Crofts and Coton Green, to Amington and Stonydelph, and through to Lichfield.

  • 31 and X3, which provides a round-Lichfield service and links the city to Birmingham.

  • 30, 116, 165/166, connecting Leek to Tean via Cheadle, and to Cheddleton, as well as providing a round-Leek service.

Other temporarily supported routes include Biddulph, Burton, Cannock, Hednesford, Wombourne and Newcastle.


The Government is also providing subsidy direct to operators until March 2023.


David Williams said: “Public transport in Staffordshire is largely based on commercial bus services, which not only get people to and from work and the classroom, but support town centre retail and leisure businesses and help reduce carbon emissions by leaving the car at home.


“The reality is that if people do not start using the services again, when this support ends they will be much reduced, or simply stop running.”


Although Staffordshire County Council does not run bus services, it does work closely with operators and communities to promote a sustainable transport network wherever possible.


It also works with other councils on cross-border routes, including Derbyshire County Council to back evening services between Burton and Derby via Tutbury and Willington.


In recent years threatened commercial routes have been saved by using money contributed by housing developers to improve community facilities and by moving around 2,000 pupils entitled to Home to School transport from bespoke buses to public services.



Note to editorsThe full list of services supported so far by the one-off intervention is:401           Burton - Tutbury – Uttoxeter (Tutbury – Uttoxeter section)

406           Uttoxeter Town Circle

2 & 3         Tamworth - Perry Crofts/Coton Green

765           Lichfield - Whittington - Tamworth

5, 7E         Tamworth - Amington/Stoneydelph

Swift         Derby - Ashbourne - Mayfield – Uttoxeter (Mayfield – Uttoxeter section)

9              Biddulph – Hanley – Newcastle – Clayton (diverted to serve Ferndown Estate to replace First Bus route 72)

32             Hanley - Cheadle - Uttoxeter (replacement service for First Bus “Kingfisher” service)

165/166     Leek Town service

15/16        Wolverhampton - Wombourne - Merry hill / Stourbridge

23             Cannock - Wimblebury - Hednesford

123           Cheadle Town service

116           Leek - Cheddleton Circular

30             Leek - Cheadle - Tean

IN2           Hanley - Meir - Cheadle

X12           Burton - Streethay - Lichfield

31             Lichfield circular

X3             Lichfield – Birmingham


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