Details of the Spending Review 2020’s impact on the coach and bus sector have attracted a mixed response from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT). While welcoming some aspects of the Review, CPT has called on the government to do more to support the industry through its recovery from coronavirus COVID-19.
Publication of the full document has given more detail of the first £120m of a larger pot of funding that will go towards at least 4,000 zero-emission buses. The initial tranche of money in 2021-22 will support 500 of those vehicles. The All Electric Bus Town (AEBT) scheme will contribute to 300 more. AEBT winners are to be announced in early 2021, according to the National Infrastructure Strategy.
In addition, a further £300m in 2021-22 will “drive transformation of bus services.” It will be drawn down in the first instance for any further coronavirus COVID-19 support that may be needed, while “progressing reform to deliver better outcomes.”
CPT had earlier called for £500m to be allocated through the Spending Review to its proposed bus recovery partnership model.
While the Confederation has welcomed the allocation of £300m to bus service improvements, Chief Executive Graham Vidler says the money “falls short” of what is required to leverage the mode’s contribution to a green recovery from the pandemic, particularly in view of record investment in road and rail networks.
Mr Vidler has also pointed out that the Spending Review has done nothing to assist the coach industry in its recovery.
“Coaches contributed 10% of the value of UK tourism in 2019, get 600,000 children to school each day and provide environmentally friendly transport to millions each year,” he says. “All of this is being placed at risk by the failure of the government to help this important, family-run sector.”