Bus services in West Yorkshire could face further cuts if the Government doesn’t extend the Bus Recovery Grant into April.

That’s the warning from West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport chief Susan Hinchcliffe who has accused the Government of “dithering” over a decision to protect services.

Bus passenger numbers still haven’t recovered to pre-Covid levels and bus companies say they still need support to maintain services.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee was told on Friday that at least seven routes could be scrapped and 35 other routes cut back if the Bus Recovery Grant wasn’t extended beyond March 31.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin wants urgent Government action and has written to the Department for Transport calling for clarity.

The Bus Recovery Grant, designed to help bus operators and local transport authorities mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on bus use, is set to end next month.

A meeting of the Transport Committee heard how potentially dozens of bus services across the region could be either reduced or scrapped altogether, if the Government fails to extend the funding.

A report to the committee said that bus operators were preparing for the worst case scenario and would:

  • Remove seven services in full;
  • Withdraw part of the route of four services;
  • Reduce the frequency of 16 services;
  • Remove journeys at certain times of the day or week on 15 services.

Transport Committee chairman Clr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The services people rely on are facing a funding cliff-edge.

“This dithering from Government means bus companies cannot commit to delivering the services everybody relies on from the end of next month.

“Passengers need to know that their bus to get to work is still going to be there beyond the end of March. These services are desperately needed across West Yorkshire.

“We want to encourage people to use buses but how can we do that when funding from Government is piecemeal, hand to mouth and month by month? We can’t have services being cut left, right and centre.”

No detail has been given on which services could be under threat.