Transport User Voice – May 2022 – A boost for bus
28 April 2022
Working to make investment count
In early April, the Department for Transport announced a £7 billion investment to help deliver Bus Service Improvement Plans and major local transport schemes. This was welcomed by Transport Focus as a valuable incentive to improve services and attract bus passengers back as Covid restrictions end.
Within this announcement was the much-anticipated confirmation that 31 Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) were to receive a share of around £1.1bn to improve local bus services for passengers.
The Department has written to these 31 LTAs providing guidance on its investment priorities, stating that they “expect the vast majority of your allocation to be spent on bus priority, ambitious and eye-catching initiatives to reduce and simplify fares, and increased service frequencies and new or expanded routes”.
These align closely with passengers’ priorities for improving bus services, captured in our report Bus Passenger Priorities for Improvement.
Passengers tell us they want frequent, punctual, and reliable bus services that offer better value for money. They will welcome this significant investment to provide more affordable services.
Transport Focus will continue its work with operators and all local authorities as they work together to ensure this investment focuses on what matters most to passengers, helping to get people back on board bus and tackle climate change.
In mid-April, we were also delighted to see Cornwall County Council launch its ‘Bus Fares Pilot’ in Truro backed by £23.5m of Government funds. Cheaper fares are vital in winning passengers back and attracting new ones. Our research has shown that Cornwall’s bus passengers wanted better value for money fares. These plans should drive up passenger satisfaction and encourage more people to give bus a go.
Transport Focus has worked closely with the county’s Bus Partnership Board. We look forward to seeing how initiatives such as reduced fares and new ticket deals encourage current passengers to take more journeys and attract new passengers to the local bus network.
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