Staffordshire bus routes at risk of being axed are saved by council chiefs... but only for a year

Bus routes across Staffordshire are being propped-up by council chiefs after a one-off intervention to save those at risk of being axed.

Staffordshire County Council said a range of "vulnerable" routes would be supported for 12 months until autumn 2023 at an expected cost of over £900,000.

It will be in place whilst operators work to rebuild their support – and encourage more people to use their services after the devastating impact of coronavirus.

Councillor 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."

Supported routes include the 31 and X3 which links Lichfield to Birmingham and other routes around Cannock, Hednesford, Wombourne and further afield in the county. The Government is also providing subsidy direct to operators until March 2023.

Councillor Williams added: "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.

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.

The 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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