Today I joined colleagues meeting Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps to discuss the Government's new bus strategy.
Buses are our most-used form of public transport but, even before coronavirus (COVID-19), they faced challenges. There are pockets of good bus performance outside London, but far too many places have fallen behind particularly in villages across the Cleethorpes constituency. Turning this around is central to this government’s objectives of reaching net zero and levelling up.
This is why the Government has published plans for the most ambitious shake-up of the bus sector in a generation, which will see lower, simpler flat fares in towns and cities, turn-up-and-go services on main routes, and new flexible services to reconnect communities.
The new bus strategy, backed by £3 billion of investment, will see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use and understand, better coordinated and cheaper bus services.
Levelling up services across the country will encourage more people to use the bus, rather than the car, as we build back better from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The changes include:
- simpler bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs
- more services in the evenings and at the weekends
- integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes, so people can easily move from bus to train
- all buses to accept contactless payments
Hundreds of miles of new bus lanes will make journeys quicker and more reliable, getting people out of their cars, reducing pollution and operating costs.
The Government expects to see local authorities and operators working together to deliver bus services that are so frequent that passengers can just ‘turn up and go’ – no longer needing to rely on a traditional timetable and having the confidence they won’t wait more than a few minutes.
Disabled people rely on bus services more than most and the strategy confirms our continuing commitment to supporting an inclusive transport system. One of the strategy’s aims is to improve equality of opportunity, particularly for older and disabled people. We want to see improvement plans that drive improvement in accessibility for all. Disabled people should have the confidence to travel when and where they want to, and our plans ensure that bus services play their part in making that possible.