Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister that bus services across the country will be transformed with simpler fares, thousands of new buses, improved routes and higher frequencies and has called on Worcestershire County Council and First Bus to be ambitious in their bid for funding.
Robin met with First Bus last Friday to press for better services for constituents and to ensure Worcestershire County Council is bidding for funding to support more services in Worcester. Robin was pleased that the County has committed an extra £200,000 on to its transport budget in Worcestershire prior to the new national announcement on improving bus services.
This follows news late last year that Claines Conservative County Councillor Andy Stafford has stepped in to help reinstate the weekend 37 bus service which runs between Northwick and Worcester. He has used his divisional funding to support weekend services between Claines and the city centre and First Bus have been running several free to use promotional Saturday buses as a result.
In a statement to Parliament, the Prime Minister announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London. This announcement supports the Government’s vision to level up local transport connections throughout the country, making every day journeys easier, greener and more convenient.
The package of investment will boost bus services by focusing on a range of priorities, set to include:
- Higher frequency services, including evenings and weekends, to make it easier and less restrictive for people to get around at any time of day
- More ‘turn up and go’ routes where, thanks to higher frequency, people won’t have to rely on timetables to plan journeys
- New priority schemes will make routes more efficient, so that buses avoid congested routes and can speed passengers through traffic
- More affordable, simpler fares
- At least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero
The new 5-year funding package builds on the Government’s determination to make buses work better for their passengers. The details of these programmes will be announced in the upcoming National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review and follows the allocation of £170 million last week to support more electric buses, increase rural mobility and trial new ‘Superbus’ services.
Cycle routes will also see a major boost across the country with over 250 miles of new, high-quality separated cycle routes and safe junctions in towns and cities to be constructed across England, as part of the multibillion-pound package announced today.
Dozens of new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes will be taken forward to transform town centres across the country to make them safer to get around. These pilots of low-traffic neighbourhoods, will see the government working closely with local councils to reduce lorry traffic, making side streets safer to walk, cycle and play in while maintaining the vehicle access people need to get around.
Speaking after the Prime Ministers announcement, Robin said:
“I support the Government’s ambition to level up transport services in every region of the UK and I believe this represents a great opportunity for Worcester. As part of the plan, we are investing £5 billion in bus and cycle links. I would urge the County Council to be ambitious in bidding for its share of this investment and to pay attention to the regular feedback we hear from constituents on the doorstep about the importance of good public transport.”
“This announcement will help ensure more people can cycle safely and make getting around by bike a more convenient option in Worcester. The extra funding will improve people’s everyday journeys in Worcester, making them quicker, more environmentally friendly and easier.”
“This will also have the potential to improve air quality in Worcester by improving vehicle flow reducing emissions. The investment in cycle routes will also hopefully encourage more and more people to leave their cars at home and take zero-emission journeys when visiting the city centre. Investments such as the Diglis Bridge, improvements to the riverside and the potential new Gheluvelt Park crossing can make Worcester an even better city in which to cycle.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure across the country.”
“Our daily journeys for work or leisure are about so much more than just getting from A to B – they are the key to accessing skilled jobs and opportunities, boosting businesses and unlocking economic growth for towns, cities and regions across this country.”
“That’s why improving connectivity by overhauling bus services and making cycling easier than ever is such an important step forward, to make sure every community has the foundations it needs to thrive.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“We want everyone across this country to have the transport services they need to improve their lives and opportunities – to do that, we must invest in the here and now.”
“Through today’s buses funding we’ll be bringing about a transformation in bus services to every community, speeding up journeys and capping fares to make high-quality services the norm.”
“Our long-term commitment to cycling could not be clearer, with money for new routes, more cyclist support and new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes, set to make our streets the safest they have been for cyclists.”
Notes to Editors
For more information on the announcement, please see: