The Urban Transport Group, the network of UK transport authorities (which serve the areas where the vast majority of bus trips are made), has today welcomed the national bus strategy.
Laura Shoaf, Chair of the Urban Transport Group, said:
‘‘We welcome the national bus strategy’s positive and ambitious vision for the future of the bus and its commitment to giving locally accountable transport authorities a key role in determining the future of their local bus services – either through more tightly regulated agreements with existing operators or through the franchising of networks of services.
“Prior to the pandemic, bus use and bus networks were in decline and fares were increasing – so the additional funding pledged by the Government is welcome. There can be no green and just recovery from the pandemic without better bus services so the bus will continue to need a bigger slice of overall transport spending and for this funding to be sustained over the long term.
“We also stand ready to play our full part in decarbonising bus fleets where we will have a vital role to play in ensuring that green buses are part of a wider strategy for decarbonising urban vehicle fleets and ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to provide the green energy that will be required.
“The bus is relied upon by those with the least and by those communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. We will therefore need to act fast to ensure that the ambitions of the strategy can be realised as soon as possible. The bus strategy needs to be followed by both a streamlining of the legislation, so we can move more quickly to introduce franchising or enhanced partnerships, as well as by simpler, enhanced and devolved bus funding for transport authorities so we can move rapidly to support better bus networks and cheaper fares.”