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Bus campaigners take cause to Parliament

LOCALbus campaigners recently visited the House of Lords in Westminster as part of a Campaign for Better Transport networking event.

Tracey Harding and Emma Russell of the Frome and Villages Bus Users’ Group (FAVBUG) recently went to the Campaign for Better Transport meeting alongside around 200  politicians, academics and national campaigners.

The campaign hopes to improve the quality and availability of public transport for people across the country.

Tracey, who lives in Frome said, “We went to the meeting to try and find out more about possible funding cuts for buses, the potential for local authorities to have more power over bus services, and the upcoming southwest branch of the Campaign for Better Transport.

“We met Chris Todd who will be setting up the southwest campaign alongside David Warburton MP.

“Finding out more about the buses bill and how the councils can devolve will give us a greater understanding of the effects on public transport in Frome and across the region.

“We are hoping that the new powers might see an improved bus service in the area, and that rural areas won’t be overlooked in favour of improving services for larger regions.”

Somerset bus services have been some of the worst hit in the southwest in the past five years. More than a quarter of funding has been lost for the county; the annual budget for 2014/15 was £4,076,300, compared to £5,569,300 in 2010/11.

Tracey continued, “This month George Osborne could cut the central government’s bus service operators grant, which is a ring-fenced sum paid to local authorities to fund bus services in the area.

“Martin Abrahms at the Campaign for Better Transport hasn’t told me what would happen to that money if it were cut from the grant.”

FAVBUG continues to campaign for improved bus services for residents in and around Frome, and will next weekend be attending the launch of Campaign for Better Transport South West in Bristol.

For more information about what the group does, visit its blog at www.favbug.blogspot.co.uk or find the group on Facebook.