A further £256 million of emergency funding to help keep bus and tram operators running during the coronavirus pandemic has been announced by the Department for Transport.
Passenger numbers on bus and light rail services have been significantly below normal levels during the pandemic, despite the bus network running at more than 80 per cent of normal service levels.
The announcement takes the total funding allocations for bus services to more than £600 million and has helped support more than 130,000 local bus services across England.
The Department for Education also announced £40 million for home-to-school transport this autumn, to help local authorities create extra capacity and allow hundreds of thousands more students to use alternatives to public transport, while social distancing measures remain in place.
Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Transport Spokesman, said: “Bus services and light rail…have a critical role to play in the national recovery from COVID-19 and beyond, through supporting local economies, tackling poor air quality and congestion and reaching the country’s net zero carbon targets by 2050.
“The most effective way forward would be for the Government to give councils oversight of local bus services, so they can ensure effective targeting of any public funding.”
He added: “We are pleased funding has been announced to support home-to-school transport. It will be important for the Government to work closely with schools and councils to ensure that the costs of covering extra transport capacity are fully covered.”