£3bn bus "revolution"
The government has set out a plan to revolutionise bus travel in England. They have produced an 84 page document, available online, which outlines the proposals.
In short, and very broadly, it relies on operators and councils working together to plan routes.
In return they will recieve funding to subsidise a more frequent service, more off peak services, and lower fares.
It also appears operators will have to accept each others tickets, or offer tickets for use on trains and buses across a broad area.
Schemes like this already exist in certain areas, and perhaps they will be able to adapt and take advantage of this new scheme more readily.
The funding will also be used to buy new environmentally friendly buses, infrastructure, bus priority measures and smart ticketing cards/apps.
There will become a point, likely later this year, where commercial services will no longer recieve government support to continue, as they have so far throughout the covid 19 pandemic.
This is partly to encourage all parties to engage in the above. Although the government has said that rural and "on demand" services will be funded by the grants,
there is still a risk that larger cities will adapt well, and smaller towns,
where perhaps authorities don't see bus travel as a priority,
will get left behind with unsupported Monday to Friday day time commercial services.
The main challenge that lies ahead is getting people back on buses, and also encouraging new long term custom.
Without doing that, no matter how much money is thrown at it, the problem will not be fixed.
Electric buses for Derby?
Derby City Council are looking into introducing a new electric bus rapid transit system connecting some key places within the city area.
They are bidding for some money for this, with the consultation due to be complete by June 2021. See above for the councils article on this.
Other mooted schemes announced in the past have come to nothing - remember the electric buses trent were getting funding for a year or so ago, and the new park and ride sites -
these schemes seem to have been shelved long before covid 19 had any impact.