An award of more than £160m to improve bus services in the North East of England is set to be welcomed by Northumberland County Council.
The Department for Transport (DfT) recently announced a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for the region with an indicative £163.5m worth of government funding for the North East Joint Transport Committee.
Now detailed proposals of what the funding will be spent on are being developed by Transport North East, which will be submitted to the DfT by the end of June.
They will review the plan and either provide feedback or confirm final funding allocation.
Among the initial proposals originally bid for were:
- Reduced fares for under-19s.
- More services in rural areas and tourist hotspots.
- Extra park and ride services.
- A single ticket which would allow unlimited travel across all services in the region.
Given the tight timeline to submit a plan to government, the council’s Cabinet is being recommended to authorise that Leader, Councillor Glen Sanderson negotiates and agrees the draft plan on behalf of the authority.
Commenting, Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj said:
“We know how important bus services are for many people in Northumberland, particularly for those who don’t have access to their own vehicles.
“They’re also a very environmentally friendly way to travel and as part of our green agenda we would always encourage people to use public transport or give it a try, where they can.
“This funding will make a serious difference not just to our physical bus services but also the way many of us think about and value these services.
“Along with our colleagues in other local authorities and transport operators we need to move at speed to submit priorities back to government by the end of June.
“There are a number of potential fantastic opportunities for public transport users in Northumberland and we look forward to government’s response later this year.”
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