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Cornwall, Liverpool and Norfolk among winners of new bus funding

Improvements include making services more frequent, better reliability, cheaper fares and greener buses.

04 April 2022

Thirty-one areas in England have been selected for the latest round of Government funding to boost bus services.

Among the successful counties, city regions and unitary authorities chosen were Brighton and Hove, City of York, Cornwall, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the West Midlands, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced.

Many applicants missed out in the latest round of funding in the Bus Service Improvement Plan scheme, such as Blackpool, Cheshire West and Chester, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Sheffield City Region, and Slough.

The DfT said its bus strategy published in March 2021 stated that “areas not showing sufficient ambition, including for improvements to bus priority, would not be funded”.

The department added that just under two-thirds of England’s population outside London will “benefit from new investment” under the in buses, including earlier funding awards.

Improvements under the areas’ bus service improvement plans include making services more frequent, better reliability, cheaper fares and greener vehicles.

Areas have been chosen because of their “ambition to repeat the success achieved in London”, the DfT added.

In Cornwall, a trial starting on Sunday will see most fares in the county cut.

The DfT said short journeys will be 20% cheaper, with tickets for longer trips reduced by as much as 40%.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Buses are the most popular way of getting around in this country – but for too long people outside of London have had a raw deal.

“The investment we’re making today to ramp up the bus revolution will drive down fares at a time when people’s finances are tight and help connect communities across England.”

But Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh, commented: “The Tories have admitted vast swathes of the country won’t see a single penny to improve their shockingly bad bus services.

“The Conservatives have slashed the funding promised, and dramatically downgraded the ambitions of many local communities.

“Far from bus transformation, many will continue to see managed decline.”

Research from pressure group Campaign for Better Transport shows bus mileage in England declined by 27% from 2011/12 to 2020/21.

A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents the bus and coach industry, described the funding announcement as “an important milestone”.

He said: “Operators are ready to engage with successful local authorities to deliver their joint plans for improvement in bus services as quickly as possible to help deliver important goals such as the drive to net zero and economic growth across the country.

“It is important that we remember though that there will be millions of passengers left disappointed by today’s announcement as their local area missed out on funding.

“It’s vital that the Government now clearly sets out future funding plans and policy initiatives for delivering its National Bus Strategy, including measures to reduce car use.”

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