Transport Leaders to allocate millions for bus improvements

Transport Leaders have agreed the allocation of around £100m for a range of bus improvements including enhanced services, cheaper fares, priority measures to speed up buses and improved passenger information, all thanks to the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding.

The North East BSIP sets out the region’s unified ambition for bus services in response to the Government’s National Bus Strategy for England which was published in March 2021.

The North East successfully secured £163.5 million in grant funding over three years following the submission of the BSIP – one of the highest allocations in the country which has already delivered the launch of a new £1 single fare for those aged 21 and under, affordable adult day tickets and multiple enhancements to local bus services. 

The North East Joint Transport committee agreed at its meeting today (19 March) to allocate the remaining capital and revenue funding for a wide range of initiatives. The committee also agreed to accelerate the funding of bus priority measures in Lambton Street in Gateshead town centre, part of the measures planned which will protect the passage of buses on the approach to the Tyne Bridge when lane reductions are in place throughout restoration works which begin this Easter.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “It’s great to be investing so much in our bus network which is such an important part of everyday travel for our residents.

“Local people need to be able to trust that the bus network is reliable, that buses run to timetable and that they can travel at a price they can afford. I’m hugely proud of the fare promotions we have launched using our BSIP funding – including the £1 fare for young people and affordable region-wide day tickets – but there is much to do to build passenger trust and deliver reliable services.

“We are now looking to allocate our remaining funding to ensure that the money is there to invest in schemes which will make services much more punctual and reliable to really help passengers travel with confidence.

“Schemes will include measures which will speed up bus services in congested areas alongside new Park and Ride sites and other improvements. Simplified and accessible passenger information will also play a huge part in this, with a new website providing real-time information to make travelling in the region by bus more appealing and intuitive. Our region’s BSIP is already making major improvements and I’m pleased to be taking this next exciting step.”

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