Portsmouth City Council has reacted to the government’s National Bus Strategy by producing the city’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.
The plan sets out the improvements that are needed to transform bus services in Portsmouth, as well as being a bidding document which will support the council in accessing part of the £3bn funding available to local authorities.
It was approved by the authority’s Cabinet and will be submitted to the Department for Transport by 31 October 2021.
The plan has been developed collaboratively with First Bus and Stagecoach, whilst also ensuring local priorities for the bus service are considered through engagement with the local community.
This included a city-wide survey with over 1,100 responses, engagement with user groups and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.
Portsmouth’s Bus Service Improvement Plan aims to:
- Create more frequent and reliable services on a better fleet of buses.
- Improve the integration with other ways of travelling.
- Develop ticketing options to make travel simpler.
- Provide more accessible information for passengers and those considering taking the bus.
The authority said that examples of the changes needed include buses running from 4.30am to 11pm to benefit shift workers and buses operating until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays to support the night-time economy.
As well as this, the council has also called for additional services operating in parts of the city that do not currently have a bus service or have a poor one.
Improvements will be measured by targets for journey times, reliability of services, passenger numbers and passenger satisfaction.
The document will be reviewed annually to ensure it reflects the changing needs of the city as the council strives to achieve its vision to become a greener city with excellent air quality and easy travel.
Commenting, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, Councillor Lynne Stagg said:
“The Bus Service Improvement Plan is part of a much bigger picture for Portsmouth, where we need to create cleaner air and provide people in our city with more travel options to help reduce the reliance on cars.
“As part of this wider picture, this plan is essential to create a better bus service in Portsmouth, to get more people on the bus and provide a better service for those that already use it.
“I hope the government will provide us with the funding we need to transform bus travel in our city.”
The government launched their Bus Back Better: National Bus Strategy in March this year.