£2 fare scheme, and bus recovery grant extended until 31st December 2024
The Bus recovery Grant has been extended yet again. Most local operators are offering £2 single fares until the end of December 2024. Operators are expected to provide services at 80% of pre covid levels.
Interestingly operators are still eligible if they operate less than this amount due to extenuating circumstances,
including driver shortages, and now vehicle part supply problems, which continue to be a big problem for at least one local operator in particular. No matter how cheap, if service are unreliable, no matter what the reason for this is, people will not use it.
Each local authority area has produced a "bus service improvement plan", and money is being dished out, to allow some of these ideas to be implemented.
So far we have additional services on existed routes, even though operators struggled to provide the former level of service. Money well spent?
Whether or not this will be enough remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely. It will take some work and time for the reputation of "the bus" to recover.
Bus usage was in decline before covid, now after an active campaign to get people to avoid it, it will be an uphill struggle for some time.
There is potential to have a better, greener bus netowork in Derby.
This does not solely depend on funding, but also how operators and local authorities work together to organise and promote it.
Sadly without any of that, it looks asthough the current bus network will continue to a reduced frequency and / or parts removed in the longer term once funding is removed.
Trent Barton service changes
Trent barton are still battling on through a severe driver/bus parts shortage. Despite many routes being temporarily withdrawn/reduced frequencies since November (is that still temporary?),
several services are still cancelled each day at very short notice, including first and last journies of the day.
This has made the bus alot less appealing to existing and returning customers, making services unreliable or even unusable, damaging their reputation and making a mockery of the "really good bus company" slogan.
The situation is not unique to trent barton, as they point out it is due to a national driver shortage.
However other operators appear to handle it better, publishing details of cancelled services the day before, instead of after they have failed to operate - resulting in a more managed situation, less complaints and less stress all round for customers and employees.