We need a national bus strategy, MPs say

 

Britain's most popular form of public transport, the bus, is in 'steady decline' due to uncoordinated, fragmented government policy and local funding, according to influential MPs.

The cross-party Transport Select Committee has called on the Government to create a single national bus strategy, as for rail and strategic roads investment, to help local authorities improve services and increase passenger numbers.

”Local

The Committee called for a national bus strategy for the network outside London where the market is still regulated by the end of 2020. This should:

  • Set out plans for making the full suite of operating models, including franchising and the ability to create new municipal bus companies, available equally to all local authorities with guidance on each;
  • Describe a more stable multi-year funding model for local transport, including bus services, with clear strategy and details of bid-for funding;
  • Assess the evidence for the effectiveness of bus priority measures and provide information on good practice;
  • Set and track targets for modal shift and provide a framework to provide guidance for local authorities to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto buses.

Under Network Rail and Highways England national rail and road networks have five year funding plans; however funding for buses is uncertain and in need of reform, the MPs said.

Despite more than three thousand bus routes in England have been reduced, altered or withdrawn since 2010/11, nearly three in every five journeys by public transport in Great Britain were taken by bus in 2017/18.

The funding mainly comes through passengers but the Government, through a variety of mechanisms, provides more than 40% of bus funding.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: 'It is now time to bring forward a strategy for bus services outside London. Core to the strategy should be the desire to make bus services more passenger focused and provide value for money, helping to bring more people, especially young people, onboard. This will also bring benefits for air quality, cutting carbon emissions and reducing congestion.

'Concessionary fares are obviously important in making public transport affordable and our Committee hopes to assist by exploring this area in more detail later this year.'

The Government has previously tried to reform the bus market using the Bus Services Act, to help councils introduce regulated franchising as in London, but the process is complex and costly.

It involves a full and independently audited assessment under guidance from the transport secretary. However only mayoral combined authorities can draw up the assessment without express permission from the transport secretary in the first place.

Only Manchester appears to be making significant steps towards this.

Cllr Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: 'The Committee rightly calls for the funding of bus services to be reformed. Any strategy would have to be backed by adequate resources and find a fully funded long-term solution to concessionary fares, which are underfunded by at least £652m a year.

'Ahead of the forthcoming Spending Review, government needs to give councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, and properly fund national free bus pass schemes, if councils are to maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and pollution, and protect vital routes.'

Jonathan Bray, director of the Urban Transport Group, said the committee was 'absolutely right to call for urgent and comprehensive action'.

He said: 'In particular, we strongly support the committee’s calls for funding reform, more powers for transport authorities to keep buses moving and for all transport authorities to have the option to regulate local bus services.'

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Air Quality Monitoring Project Manager

Birmingham City Council
£34,788 - £42,683
Seeking a skilled and dedicated individual with a background in environmental protection and air quality to... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Roadworks Inspector

Transport for London
£32,500 plus substantial benefits
You’ll review thousands of roadworks reports sent by other operational TfL staff and the Met Police andñ... Southwark, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Transport for London

Head of Planning Policy, Transport & Infrastructure Planning

Berwick Partners
Competitive Salary
This is a senior position within Be First’s Planning & Building Control Team, and you will... London (Greater)
Recuriter: Berwick Partners

Transportation Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
Applicants should hold an appropriate qualification, preferably to degree level, and have knowledge of transportation issues. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Trading Standards Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 per annum
Seeking to recruit highly motivated and experienced Trading Standards Officer’s to join our busy Business and Consumer Services team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Nature Conservation Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity now exists for a dynamic nature conservation professional, to be the lead officer for the Council in all matters relating to Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer/Enforcement

Brent Council
£35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
Looking to recruit an Environmental Health Officer / Enforcement Officer preferably with experience of... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Surface Water Engineer (Maternity Cover)

Essex County Council
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Excellent Benefits Package
The Surface Water Engineer contributes to the development and implementation of strategic plans, policy and best practice to improve the Council's knowledge and understanding of surface water flood risk and methods of management. England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Highways Project Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£32,878 - 35,934 per annum
Exciting opportunity to provide technical highway input into all stages of development, within the... Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Highway Maintenance Senior Professional and Technical Officer - Level 1

Bristol City Council
£27,905 - £31,371
The job involves project managing and assisting senior colleagues with coordinating tasks and projects, using appropriate techniques to ensure.... City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Highways Inspector

Hackney London Borough Council
£28,752 - £32,577
Seeking an experienced Highways Inspector to join the Highways Team. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Street Lighting Technical Administrator

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £33,554 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Environmental Protection Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
Looking to recruit officers to further strengthen our pool of Environmental Protection Officers who are responsible for... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Citizen & Consumer Protection Officer – Environmental Health x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
Looking for a suitably qualified and competent Environmental Health Officer or Food Safety / Health and Safety Officer registered with the... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Pest Control Officer (Commercial)

Brent Council
£33,291 - £35,724 p.a. inc.
Looking for a pest control officer that bring additional expertise to the team and support the manager in developing and supporting our clients. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Project Officer

Westminster City Council
£33,759 - £37,413 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to support the CRP team in developing and delivering their projects. City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Strategic Planning and Growth Manager

Trafford Council
£46,572 – £49,529 per annum
As the Strategic Planning and Growth Manager, you will be responsible for... Trafford, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Trafford Council

Quality & Performance Monitoring Officer

East Lindsey District Council
£26,999 - £31,371 per annum (Grade 6)
An exciting opportunity has arisen to cover a one year period of maternity leave for the role of Quality & Performance Monitoring Officer Louth, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: East Lindsey District Council

Service Director – Environment

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
Up to £100,000
ur new Service Director - Environment will have responsibility for all front-line environmental services, as well as licensing... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Health Officers

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 - £42,490
Seeking Environmental Health Officers to contribute towards delivering the project objectives of addressing rogue... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council