Severe cuts to bus services in England have been avoided due to new Government funding.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that up to £130 million will be made available to keep services running.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion.
“At a time when people are worried about rising costs, it’s more important than ever we save these bus routes for the millions who rely on them for work, school and shopping.”
It comes after four Labour mayors representing areas across northern England warned that bus operators planned to axe hundreds of routes unless Government support introduced during the pandemic continued after the current package expires in October.
The new funding will cover a six-month period to March.
A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents operators, said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement of recovery funding to support bus services in local communities for a further six months.
“Today’s announcement will help bus operators and local authority partners to balance a network of reliable and affordable services in the short-term as bus networks adapt to new travel patterns.
“For the longer-term, we will continue to work closely with central Government and local authorities to encourage existing and new passengers to get on board the country’s buses, ensuring they are provided the best possible services.”
Earlier this week Mr Shapps called for bus fares to be capped at £2 per journey to provide “concrete help” to the most vulnerable people amid soaring energy prices.
He wants the limit to come into force this autumn and run for 12 months.
The measure is not expected to become Government policy before the end of Boris Johnson’s premiership, but could be considered by his successor, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.