Cumberland And Westmorland And Furness Councils Urged By Penrith And The Border To ‘Better Utilise Bus Funding’

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, is urging Cumbria’s two new unitary authorities to better utilise bus funding following Cumbria County Council’s retrograde decisions not to use Government funding to subsidise local services.

In April Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Councils will replace Cumbria County Council and the six district, borough and city councils that cover the county.

As such, they will take charge of a range of transport services including buses.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said: “Cumbria County Council’s regrettable decision not to take advantage of Government bus funding back in 2014 must be corrected.

“Money is now available through the Conservative Government’s Rural Mobility Fund and other schemes to secure a brighter future for Cumbrian transport, but we cannot let this opportunity slip.

“I’ve consistently campaigned for better connectivity links in Cumbria in Parliament and will continue to do so.

“Buses alone are not the answer, this funding must be used alongside bolstering train routes, increasing gigabit broadband coverage, and rolling out proper mobile phone signal.

“I look forward to hearing back from both councils about how they will better utilise public money to provide decent public transport services.”

Dr Hudson has written to both new Councils urging leaders to properly use the £1.5 million, made available by the Conservative Government as part of its better deal for bus users’ investments, to boost routes across the county including pilot schemes in Egremont/St Bees, Millom, Penrith and Wigton. 

In 2014 Cumbria County Council took the decision to withdraw bus service subsidies, resulting in a reduction of services across the county.

Dr Hudson disagrees with this decision and has championed rural connectivity, campaigning on better bus, train, broadband and phone coverage.

The Penrith and The Border MP has also urged the new Councils to retain and improve the Demand Responsive Scheme, which aims to help those who do not have access to public transport stay connected.

This move is part of Dr Hudson’s Better Connectivity campaign which has so far helped secure Cumbria’s £100 million broadband rollout, buses and travel bursaries for 16–18-year-olds to access education and training, and further the £1 billion A66 upgrade.