Transport leaders approve £804m North East BSIP bid

Voltra buses from Go North East
Voltra buses from Go North East

Multi-modal fares, investment in frequency and punctuality and commitment to the highest possible emissions standards are among commitments approved by local operators in the North East region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) bid, announced at a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee.

In a joint statement issues 27 October, authority leaders have welcomed the approval of the £804m bid to government which aims to improve bus services across the North East.

Key among those commitments include:

  • FInancial support following shortfalls brought by COVID-19
  • Multi-modal travel and affordable fares for multi-modal travel on bus, metro and ferry services, and on selected rail services, and automatic price cap for card, app or smartcard users
  • Improved integration of buses with the Tyne and Wear metro and rail services
  • Affordable fares for under 19s, and increased bus use among young people, rural users and commuters
  • Improved frequencies, earlier starts and later finishes on bus routes; better reliability and punctuality, and superbus corridors to give priority to buses on busy routes from city centres to park and ride sites
  • improved fast daytime links and a night bus network
  • Wider use of demand-responsive transport in rural and isolated communities. Integrated fares for onward connections
  • Audio-visual next-stop announcements on all buses
  • Improved bus stops and shelters, with real time information as standard
  • A common brand identity and passenger charter with transparent reports on performance
  • A commitment for buses to become zero-emission or the highest emission standard available on conventional buses by March 2025

The plans aim to return bus ridership to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023 and to grow patronage by 10% each year afterwards.

“We support the calls of the regions’ Political Leaders for government to invest in the North East and allow our transport network to show its true potential with the right support, including highways measures,” says Martijn Gilbert, Chair of the local operators association NEbus. “Working in partnership with Transport North East and local councils, the Bus Service Improvement Plan sets out an ambitious set of initiatives to transform the regions’ bus network by better aligning highways matters and bus service delivery to improve service reliability, as well as delivering an improved range of fare and ticket offers, and a number of other initiatives that can make bus services even better and for more people.

“If we are serious about improving air quality, reducing congestion and better connecting our communities as part of rebuilding our regional economy, then buses can provide the solution in many ways.”