'We have been shafted' - anger after bus funding allocations


The Government has announced a raft of local transport cash allocations but the news was overshadowed by angry local reactions, notably from South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis who exclaimed: 'We have been shafted'.

Money for Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP), established through the National Bus Strategy, was always likely to cause frustrations as the fund was massively oversubscribed and many of the bidders had recently been given money from other pots. (Full allocations at bottom of the article)

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a total of £1.084bn in allocations just below the £1.2bn that was left over after COVID support for the industry.

However, in its flagship ‘Bus Back Better’ National Bus Strategy, Westminster pledged £3bn to improve service and, much of this cash appears to have been spent subsidising services during the pandemic.

Responding to 'the disgraceful announcement that South Yorkshire won’t receive a penny in financial support for its transformative Bus Services Improvement Plan', South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis accused the Government of 'broken promises'.

He said: 'We’ve been shafted. We submitted a visionary and detailed bid to transform our bus services; we needed central government to put its money where its mouth is and back our ambition. They have once again failed the travelling public in South Yorkshire.

'The Government’s so-called commitment to levelling up – which supposedly has buses at its heart – is nothing more than an empty promise.'

Bus industry body CPT said: 'Millions of passengers left disappointed by today’s announcement as their local area missed out on funding. It’s vital that the Government now clearly sets out future funding plans and policy initiatives for delivering its National Bus Strategy, including measures to reduce car use.

'This will ensure that today’s announcement is the beginning not the end of plans to improve bus services across the country. 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.'

A previously announced £150m to help bus and trams emerge from the pandemic has allocated £112m to buses. This money was likely taken from the remaining BSIP funds after Government shaved it from £1.2bn to £1.084bn.

For the remainder of the £150m Covid support, local light rail funding saw £37.8m for trams in Manchester (£20.5m), the North East Nexus (£7.3m), the West Midlands (£2.7m), Sheffield (£4m) and Nottingham (£3.3m) make up the remainder of the £150m.

Indicative allocations for mayoral combined authorities the £5.7bn City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements - itself a repackaging of earlier and continual funding commitments - were announced by the chancellor in his Budget and Spending Review in October 2021.

Following submissions of the business cases, the final amounts were confirmed today for MCAs.

Government said it will continue to work with MCAs over the coming weeks to agree delivery plans and how performance will be monitored.

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority - £310m to fund initiatives such as transforming Darlington Station to enable more local rail journeys and providing active travel infrastructure on priority corridors to make cycling and walking the natural choice for short journeys.
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority - £830m to fund schemes such as the development and delivery of a mass transit network across the region.
  • South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority - £570m to fund a range of schemes including renewal of the Sheffield Supertram network connecting Sheffield and Rotherham.
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority - £1.07bn to fund a range of schemes such as new vehicles to extend the Metrolink network and the creation of walking and cycling corridors across the city region as part of the Streets for All programme.
  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority - £710m to fund a range of schemes including a new rail station in Liverpool's Baltic quarter providing direct access to the city's growing creative and digital cluster.
  • West Midlands Combined Authority - £1.05bn to fund a range of schemes including 50km of new bus priority lanes across the city region doubling the current amount and Ultra Rapid Charging Transit stations to ensure that local journeys are safer, greener, and cleaner.
  • West of England Combined Authority - £540m to support the creation of sustainable transport corridors across Bristol and Bath to make bus, cycling, and walking easier and more accessible for all.

It is not clear if any the remaining cash will be put towards the North East Combined Authority, as was orginally intended.

BSIP funding allocations

  •  Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire: £34.2m
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: £8.9m
  • Brighton and Hove: £27.9m
  • Central Bedfordshire: £3.7m
  • City of York: £17.4m
  • Cornwall (including Isles of Scilly): £13.3m
  • Derby City: £7m
  • Derbyshire: £47m
  • 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
  • Somerset: £11.9m
  • 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

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