It is estimated that the bus network has shrunk by nearly 10 percent in the last decade
The North West region is one of five in England where commercial bus companies are reducing the mileage they cover according to new findings.
In some rural areas, where services are generally less profitable because of the distance traveled by the operator and declining number of users, communities face the real prospect of being cut off from public transport.
Community led services are helping to combat the threat of isolation in some villages and small towns. Drivers offer their services for free, so there are only the running costs of the bus itself to cover, and research says it is the staffing element that is creating the greater financial strain.
Dr John Disney is a senior lecturer in transport at Nottingham Business School, he described the impact the issue is having on people affected:
“People are becoming unable to carry on with their employment; people are unable to get to education, and some people are having to move home.”
However, Dr Disney, has offered one solution communities may be able to consider once technology allows:
“If we can get to a situation of having driverless minibuses… Because one of the biggest elements of cost to the service is providing the driver. That’s why community based services are being so successful.