The Prime Minister has announced a significant five year package of new funding which aims to overhaul bus and cycle links across the country (excluding London).
His mission seems clear, to create equilibrium in terms of public transport infrastructure outside of London, "making every day journeys easier, greener and more convenient".
The package of investment will boost bus services by focusing on a range of priorities, set to include:
- higher frequency services, including evenings and weekends;
- more ‘turn up and go’ routes where, (thanks to higher frequency), people won’t have to rely on timetables to plan journeys;
- new priority schemes will make routes more efficient, so that buses avoid congested routes and can speed passengers through traffic;
- more affordable, simpler fares; and
- at least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions.
Further details will be announced later in the National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Cycle routes will also see a major cash injection, with over 250 miles of new, high-quality separated cycle routes and safe junctions in towns and cities being constructed across England and the creation of dozens of new "Mini-Holland" schemes to create safe cycle zones, with reduced vehicle traffic.
It is not yet clear how the funding will be made available, and whether local authorities will have to submit individual bids to a centrally allocated fund. The official press release can be found here.
This latest funding package comes off the back of the announcement last week of £220m to improve bus services in England, including the introduction of a £50m scheme to support the piloting of England's first electric bus town. See further details here.
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