Bus services in England face axe as end to emergency Covid funding looms

Ministers urged to extend grants as funding gap and driver shortages prompt operators to draft list of route cuts

Bus services in England used by hundreds of thousands of passengers are poised to be slashed when emergency Covid funding expires at the end of March, transport authorities have warned.

Passenger numbers on buses have dropped sharply from 80% of pre-pandemic levels to less than 60% since the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant and the introduction of work-from-home advice in December, leaving firms reliant on recovery grants to run services.

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