Concern over Cumbria bus scheme funding gap

A £1m funding gap for concessionary bus fares has been forecast in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council has raised concerns about the shortfall in government support for councils to reimburse bus operators.

It concerns the scheme which provides free off-peak travel for over 60s and disabled passengers.

It has joined forces with other rural councils. They have set up a petition signed by people concerned the shortfall could affect bus services.

Cumbria County Council said because of the shortfall, the reimbursement rate for bus operators would be reduced to 58% from April.

It said it was negotiating with operators about ways to minimise the effect on services.

Council leader Councillor Eddie Martin said: "The free bus pass scheme is a vital resource for many Cumbrians, who are often vulnerable and elderly, and I can't stress enough how we need the support at a local level to fight for fairer funding."

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