The Department for Transport has announced where the first tranche of the redirected HS2 funding will be allocated, following promises that the investment will contribute to major transport improvements in the North and Midlands.
Announced today (23rd October 2023), £150 million of investment will form the first part of the £36 billion of redistributed funding, with this seeing every part of the Midlands and North of England improved. This first tranche will be directed into bus services, as the government gives local authorities the power to establish how the funding will be used, in partnership with local operators.
Through this programme of funding, which is the first part of £1 billion for buses alone, up to 25 million miles worth of new bus services can be supported, with local communities able to benefit from more regular services that are cheaper and more reliable.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Today’s announcement marks the start of the Network North plan coming into action.
“We’re backing buses with one of the biggest ever support packages and keeping bus fares down to ensure the country’s favourite means of transport is more affordable for millions of people.
“This government is taking the right long-term decisions to deliver on our vision for a fairer and improved transport system by investing billions back into the transport projects that matter most to people and their communities.”
As the government announced the funding, a number of suggestions were made regarding how local authorities could use the investment to benefit communities, with some of these suggestions including:
- Reintroducing evening bus services that can help support the night time economy
- Increasing the frequency of services to reduce passenger waiting times
- Introducing new routes that will help connect communities that previously were left unconnected
- Bringing in a Demand Responsive Transport service that will improve rural connectivity
Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, added:
“Buses are the most popular form of public transport, which is why we are continuing to back our buses with record high levels of funding – supporting vital bus services and offering affordable travel for passengers.
“This increase in funding to deliver more reliable, frequent and affordable local bus services – and to extend the £2 bus fare cap – has only been possible with the redirected HS2 funding secured by this government making the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”
Alongside the confirmation of this redirected transport investment, the government has also announced that a funding boost of 60% will be allocated to support community services for older and vulnerable people. These services are crucial for people who use them to stay connected, and the funding will help to reduce fares, whilst also securing the services.
Transport forms a vital part of the nationwide levelling up goal, and this funding can help to play a key part in that. You can hear from sector experts on why transport funding is so important at Public Sector Executive's Levelling Up virtual event, where you can register for the Transport and Air Quality panel discussion. Register here.
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