Greater support and more consistent funding is needed to deliver vision of the Bus Back Better strategy, Transport Committee tells government
Iain Stewart:’many of the strategy’s ideas were on the right track’
Two years on from the launch of the National Bus Strategy for England, MPs on the Commons Transport Committee have expressed concerns about the pace of delivery. They have urged the government to maintain its focus and provide greater support.
A new report, Implementation of the National Bus Strategy, published by the committee last week, calls for more consistent funding to achieve the government’s goal of having 4,000 new zero-emission buses by 2024, which “seems increasingly unlikely to be met”. And whilst a transition to zero emission buses is essential, “efforts to encourage people out of their cars by making bus services more reliable should also be prioritised to help cut carbon emissions”.
The committee also called for reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant so that operators “aren’t incentivised to stick to diesel vehicles”, and new guidance on how local authorities can support socially necessary services.
There have been some successes, such as the recently announced Bus Centre of Excellence, but not all local areas in England have received sufficient funding to realise their ambitions and make a real difference
“The government’s 2021 National Bus Strategy recognised that something had to be done,” said committee chair Iain Stewart. “We warmly welcomed its ambition and invention, as did many others in the sector.
“But our report finds that, while many of the strategy’s ideas were on the right track, progress in implementing them has sometimes been too slow, and in some cases, too piecemeal. There have been some successes, such as the recently announced Bus Centre of Excellence, but not all local areas in England have received sufficient funding to realise their ambitions and make a real difference.”
This story appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.
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