The primary objective of the funding is to secure and improve local bus services that facilitate commutes, enable shopping trips and ensure access to vital appointments.
The £80m investment forms part of a broader £3.5bn initiative launched in 2020 to safeguard and elevate bus services, simultaneously making travel more cost-effective.
Local authorities in England are expected to introduce new services or routes, extend timetables with additional morning or evening buses, or lower ticket prices, particularly for elderly or young passengers – dependent on local priorities.
What’s more, the investment can be directed toward safeguarding under-utilised bus services for individuals who rely on them to access critical services within their local areas.
The funding announcement follows the initial BSIP+ investment and previous £1bn from the first BSIP funding announced in 2022.
It supplements an additional £140m allocated in May to extend the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), bringing total support for bus services in England to £300m through 2025.
Reducing daily travel expenses is also part of the initiative, with £200m in government funding to extend the bus fare cap, capping single bus tickets at £2 outside London until the end of October 2023 and at £2.50 until 30 November 2024, resulting in a 10.8% reduction in average fares in rural and non-metropolitan parts of England.
Campaign for Better Transport’s Silviya Barrett, who is also a CiTTi Awards 2023 judge, hailed the £2 bus fare cap, emphasising its role in reducing fares and boosting passenger numbers.
“The additional funds for local authorities announced today are also welcome and we hope that this is just the start of ongoing investment in bus networks across the country,” said Barrett.
Janette Bell, managing director of First Bus, welcomed the funding allocation and expressed eagerness to collaborate with local authorities to provide better services to customers: “We welcome any funding that makes taking the bus an easier travel choice.”
In addition to the £3.5bn invested in buses since 2020, the government has allocated £5.7bn to eight mayoral combined authorities in England to support integrated, cross-modal transport networks over the next five years through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, which also supports bus infrastructure.
Furthermore, the UK Department for Transport recently confirmed an additional £129m to introduce hundreds more zero-emission buses, with an initial £25m earmarked for rural communities, bringing the government’s total investment in new zero-emission buses to nearly £500m.
Innovations and achievements in public transport will be highlighted and celebrated at the second annual CiTTi Awards on 21 November 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector – and to book your table today!