Sector still awaits cash to bus back better


A senior councillor in Portsmouth has said she is still ‘eagerly’ waiting clarification of possible funding for bus improvements in the city, nearly two months after ministers pledged to fund her council’s ‘ambitious plans’.

Portsmouth City Council said a government announcement of £6.5m for electric buses for the city was ‘complementary to the implementation of Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council's Bus Service Improvement Plans’.

Gary L Hider /

Cllr Lynne Stagg, cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said: ‘I also eagerly await the funding announcement from Government in response to our Bus Service Improvement Plan.

‘If successful, we will be able to transform our bus services so that residents and those coming to our city to work, study and visit have an affordable, reliable and better-connected bus service.’

The Government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper in early February named Portsmouth as one of a number of areas in which ‘the UK Government will fund ambitious plans for bus improvement, enhancing services and reducing fares’.

However, as Transport Network revealed, the announcement did not guarantee that the named areas would get any of the cash, which should have been available for spending from the beginning of April.

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority will also receive cash for zero emission buses as it awaits a decision on funding for its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). As Transport Network has reported, the authority is setting up an enhanced partnership with bus operators but could be up to £300m short of the cash it needs to fund its BSIP.

Mayor Dan Jarvis described the award of £8.3m to create a fleet of up to 27 zero emission buses and build charging infrastructure as ‘a huge step in making our bus system fit for the future’.

He added: ‘I’ve always argued that our ambition for our buses should be nothing less than a world-class service. This is only a beginning, but it sets us on the right path for that transformation. Now we need to build on it.’

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