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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Analysis reveals billions of pounds shortfall in National Bus Strategy plans

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has revealed that there is a significant funding gap in the government’s national bus strategy

A new analysis has shown a funding gap of over £ 5 billion between local authority and bus operator plans to improve services and available government funding.

To deliver the national bus strategy, local authorities and bus operators have been tasked with drawing up bus service improvement plans (BSIPs) to determine how, with government funding, they will work together to change bus services. An analysis of these plans by the CPT, which include means of introducing new initiatives to purchase tickets and fares as well as plans to make bus travel faster and more reliable, showed that more than £ 7 billion may be needed to deliver the plans. This is more significant than the funding announced in the review Expenditures last month.

As a result, without additional government funding, the CPT believes that the aspirations of most BSIPs will not be fulfilled with sufficient funding available just to change a small number of places outside the major cities.

Commenting on the analysis, CPT CEO Graham Wiedler said: “The national bus strategy has challenged local authorities and bus operators to jointly define how they will change bus services. They have tackled this challenge and produced ambitious plans across the country, focusing on new tariff and ticketing initiatives, investing in steps to make the bus more reliable, improved passenger facilities and new non-emission buses. The scale of this aspiration will not be realized with the funds declared in the expenditure review. “The current funding may change bus services only in a small number of places, including our big cities, but the vision of the national bus strategy was justifiably much bigger.”

The CPT calls on the government to ensure that it uses some of the available funding to provide multi-operator ticketing with a national ceiling, which will make it easier for passengers to ensure they get the best fares, and ensure funding is available to maintain services as the number of passengers continues to recover.

Graham continued: “There are tough choices ahead of us, but we believe that wherever they live, all passengers should enjoy at least some improvements next year. This means ensuring that all areas will have funding from April 2022 to maintain services so that nowhere goes backwards in its bus supply. It should also be a national approach to limited card delivery at multi-operator prices, a feature in almost every BSIP and one that can be delivered more cost-effectively if it is centrally delivered. “

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