Fewer people are taking local buses, as data reveals there was a 13% drop in money spent on “lifeline” bus services across North Yorkshire.
The Labour party puts the trend down to local authority budget cuts, and has pledged that it would spend £1.3bn a year expanding bus services in England if it was in government.
The latest Department for Transport data shows there were 13 million bus passenger journeys between April 2017 and March 2018, 500,000 fewer than in the previous year.
In North Yorkshire, central and local government spent £5.9m on local bus services during the 12 months to March 2018 – a 13% decrease in eight years.
Labour plan to provide funding to cover subsidies which local councils pay to plug gaps in services, often in rural areas where running a route is less lucrative for companies.
Nearly half of all bus routes in England receive partial or complete subsidies from councils.
The Local Government Association has warned these services are at risk unless councils are given more funding.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said bus services are a “lifeline” for many people.
In North Yorkshire, 42% of the local bus passengers journeys were taken by elderly or disabled people with some kind of discount in 2017-18.
Mr Corbyn said: “Cuts to services in the past decade have had disastrous consequences for our towns and city centres and for air pollution and the environment.
“What we’re doing is trying to help the whole community by ensuring there’s good public transport. We’ve moved on a bit since Margaret Thatcher once said anyone on a bus over the age of 25 is a failure.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Buses are vital for connecting people, homes and businesses, which is why we help subsidise costs by around £250 million every year and support local authority spending.
“Local authorities spend a further £1 billion on the free bus pass scheme, benefiting older and disabled people across the country.
“We have also recently published our plans to make bus travel more convenient for passengers by ensuring better access to real-time information on fares, routes and services.”
Across England, local bus passenger journeys decreased by 2% from 2016-17 to 2017-18, to 4.36 billion journeys.