Only 31 Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) submissions in England out of the over 70 prepared by local authorities have been funded after an indicative total of £1.08bn was allocated to them.
The Department for Transport (DfT) says the chosen areas have received money “because of their ambition to repeat the success achieved in London.” It adds: “As the government stated in last year’s National Bus Strategy, Bus Back Better, areas not showing sufficient ambition, including for improvements to bus priority, would not be funded.”
DfT had previously indicated that awards were to be confirmed before the end of February. In alphabetical order, indicative BSIP allocations are:
- Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire (joint submission): £34.2m
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: £8.9m
- Brighton and Hove: £27.9m
- Central Bedfordshire: £3.7m
- City of York: £17.4m
- Cornwall: £13.3m
- Derby City: £7.0m
- Derbyshire: £47.0m
- Devon: £14.1m
- East Sussex: £41.4m
- Greater Manchester: £94.8m
- Hertfordshire: £29.7m
- Kent: £35.1m
- Liverpool City Region: £12.3m
- Luton: £19.1m
- Norfolk: £49.6m
- North East and North of Tyne: £163.5m
- North East Lincolnshire: £4.7m
- Nottingham City: £11.4m
- Nottinghamshire: £18.7m
- Oxfordshire: £12.7m
- Portsmouth: £48.3m
- Reading: £26.3m
- Stoke-on-Trent: £31.7m
- Warrington: £16.2m
- West Berkshire: £2.6m
- West Midlands: £87.9m
- West of England and North Somerset: £105.5m
- West Sussex: £17.4m
- West Yorkshire: £70m.
The investment will be targeted at making buses “more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, cheaper, or greener,” DfT says. Funding will also go towards increased priority measures and integrated ticketing.
Improvements in the pilot area, Cornwall, will begin in week commencing 11 April. That work will see fares reduced, with the prices of some multi-operator passes to be cut in half.
DfT has also confirmed £5.7bn of City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, which were first announced in 2021’s Autumn Statement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak. That money will help to develop a “mass transit network” in West Yorkshire and BRT corridors in the West Midlands. Additionally, it will also fund a flat fare on buses in Greater Manchester. That forms a key part of Mayor Andy Burnham’s work to re-regulate services in the conurbation.
Responding to the announcement of which BSIP submissions are to be funded, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says the awards represent “an important milestone” in National Bus Strategy for England work. But it has pointed out that “millions of passengers [will be] left disappointed by today’s announcement as their local area missed out on funding.”
CPT is now calling on the government to set out future funding plans and policy initiatives to deliver on NBS objectives. “That will ensure that today’s announcement is the beginning, not the end, of plans to improve bus services across the country,” a spokesperson says.
“A good place to start would be to confirm funding for the industry’s plan to deliver simpler and price capped ticketing across the country – a move that would improve bus services for passengers everywhere.”