UK government announces £130 million to protect bus services across England
Building on almost two years’ worth of unprecedented government support to keep the country’s bus networks running, the latest funding will help protect England’s bus services and routes.
The UK government has announced that buses across England will benefit from up to £130 million of government support, ensuring services keep running and millions of passengers can continue using affordable transport.
Covering six months from October 2022 to March 2023, the funding package builds on almost two years’ worth of unprecedented government support to keep bus networks running. The funding means almost £2 billion has been made available to over 160 bus operators during the pandemic.
The additional funding will help to protect bus services and routes, which are particularly important to people facing pressures due to the rising cost-of-living. Prior to this, the government has provided £37 billion of support for the most vulnerable households.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion. At a time when people are worried about rising costs, it’s more important than ever we save these bus routes for the millions who rely on them for work, school and shopping. The government is also investing £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and a further £525 million for zero-emission buses.”
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “We welcome the government’s announcement of recovery funding to support bus services in local communities for a further six months. Today’s (19 August 2022) announcement will help bus operators and local authority partners to balance a network of reliable and affordable services in the short-term as bus networks adapt to new travel patterns. For the longer-term, we will continue to work closely with central government and local authorities to encourage existing and new passengers to get on board the country’s buses, ensuring they are provided the best possible services.”
Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, said: “Given the funding announcement has been made on deadline day for bus companies registering plans for extensive service cuts, it’s too early to know how many bus services this funding will save. However, any reprieve will only be temporary unless there is a long term revenue funding settlement for bus services which is capable of meeting the aspirations of the national bus strategy for more, cheaper, better and greener bus services. We also need to move away from bailing out commercial bus companies, in a way which is difficult to audit, to routing public support for bus services to locally accountable transport authorities who can best ensure that every pound of public support for bus services is spent in the public interest.”
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