Transport Minister welcomes new ‘Backing the Bus’ report

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Transport Minister Derek Twigg today welcomed a new pteg report - ‘Backing the Bus’.

The report shows how around a half a billion pounds a year of PTE spending is making bus travel better for millions of passengers in some of Britain’s largest city regions.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Derek Twigg MP said:

“Buses offer people flexible, convenient and inexpensive transport and play a vital role in promoting social inclusion and helping to tackle congestion. 

Government has invested heavily in boosting the quality of local bus provision which is good news for passengers who will benefit from more reliable services and a better journey experience. 

The introduction of free local bus travel for older and disabled people as well as measures such as bus priority programmes, real time bus information and state of the art interchanges will all encourage more people to take the bus.

I congratulate PTEs on the work they have done so far in ‘backing the bus’ and look forward to Government’s continued partnership with bus operators and the PTEs.”

Rob Donald, Chair of pteg, added:

‘85% of public transport journeys in PTE areas are made by bus. The relatively low cost and flexibility of bus services makes the bus a key weapon in the battle against traffic congestion. With most bus users from non-car owning households the bus is also important in tackling social exclusion. This is why PTEs are one of Britain’s biggest backers of the bus industry.

‘backing the bus’ shows what we have achieved so far. But with Government support and with our private sector partners we have exciting plans over the next five years to provide:

  • fast and reliable services on core routes benefiting from extensive bus priority
  • real time information about services – available at key stops and by internet and mobile phones
  • more convenient demand responsive services on less busy routes
  • new vehicles which will transform both the quality and the image of bus travel’

Among the report’s findings:

  • three quarters of major PTE bus stations are new or comprehensively modernised. Many have won awards or Chartermark status.
  • last year, PTEs and their local authority partners invested £145 million in capital improvements to bus services – a level of spend an estimated five times greater per head than for local authorities in the rest of England outside London
  • PTEs spend more than £80 million a year supporting nearly 100 million kilometres of bus services than can’t be run commercially. These are mainly ‘lifeline’ off-peak routes or services for isolated rural communities or council estates 

On capital investment:

  • last year PTEs and their local authority partners invested £145 million in capital improvements to bus services – a level of spend an estimated five times greater per head than for local authorities in the rest of England outside London
  • all PTEs have extensive bus priority programmes and major partnership initiatives, including Quality Bus Corridors in Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire, Superoute in Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire Bus in West and South Yorkshire, SMART bus in Merseyside, and Showcase in the West Midlands

On interchange:

  • three quarters of major PTE bus stations are new or comprehensively modernised. Many have won awards or Chartermark status
  • PTEs manage, maintain and improve a vast network of more than 60,000 bus stops or shelters

On tackling exclusion:

  • nearly half a billion trips a year are made under PTE concessionary fares schemes
  • PTEs spend more than £80 million a year supporting nearly 100 million kilometres of bus services than can’t be run commercially. These are mainly ‘lifeline’ off-peak routes or services for isolated rural communities or council estates
  • 4.6 million trips a year are made on PTE supported ‘dial-a-ride’ services

On information:

  • PTE call centres handle 4.7 million calls a year
  • 58 PTE travel centres deal with 9.5 million inquiries a year
  • there are more than 35 million hits on PTE websites
  • the English PTEs publish more than 17 million leaflets, timetables and promotional handouts

On innovation:

PTEs are pioneering new forms of bus travel and fresh thinking about what buses can do:

  • Metro has one of the first, and one of the biggest, guided bus networks in the UK
  • PTEs were first to introduce high quality yellow school bus services in the UK
  • PTEs have been among the first to introduce into service low, or zero, emission buses

ENDs

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485

 

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