Bus Back Better

The UK Government has just launched a new national bus strategy for England entitled Bus Back Better. The Government’s believes ‘buses are the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to improve transport”. This national Bus Strategy is backed by £3 billion of new funding and forms a key plank in the Government’s twin agenda of “Levelling Up” and “ensuring the economy meets Net Zero carbon emissions”

Said Tony Reese, Co-Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership, “This new national bus strategy and its extra funding gives us in Somerset the chance to deliver major improvements in the County’s bus services. Somerset now needs to seize this unique opportunity.” The newly formed Somerset Bus Partnership is supported both by councillors and by bus user groups across Somerset and it will seek to work with local town and parish councils and with Somerset County Council to input into a Bus Enhancement Partnership for Somerset that incorporates both what current bus users need and take steps to facilitate more Somerset residents to switch from using private cars to travel by bus.

At 10 journeys per resident, Somerset currently has the fourth lowest bus passenger journeys per population in England. It is the lowest in the South West. Bus passenger journeys in Somerset have decreased by more than some 40% over the past decade. Said Peter Travis, Co-Chair of Somerset Buys Partnership, “The new Bus Strategy provides the funding to reverse this decline in passenger numbers in Somerset and see Somerset playing its part in the Government’s levelling up and green agendas by launching a Bus Enhancement Initiative for Somerset. Somerset needs to commit to this initiative by June 2021.” We will be following up by trying to raise awareness of the existence of this new strategy, and soliciting involvement of everyone in Somerset who is keen to see improvements, so that we can BUS BACK BETTER

The National Bus Strategy is online at

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/969205/DfT-Bus-Back-Better-national-bus-strategy-for-England.pdf

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