The transport campaign group, Campaign for Better Transport, has called on the Government to include taxis and minicabs as part of future development of rural transport strategies.
CBT chief executive Darren Shirley said constrained budgets mean councils need to work closer on transport with schools, hospitals and communities.
“The answer won’t always be subsiding a bus,” he said.
“It might be making sure a school bus turns into a public bus after 9am and using online technology to help people find lift shares or taxi shares.
Utilising taxis and private hire vehicles should be a “key principle” for the future development of rural transport strategies CBT said.
This is part of the CBT’s call for a “planned network” to replace the existing “patchwork of different forms and types of public transport”.
Rural bus mileage fell by more than 6% between 2011-12 and 2016-17.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said councils are “willing to discuss any ideas for shared public transport to help ensure communities get the services they need”.