Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the new £3 billion bus strategy to help create cheaper, quicker and more reliable services across the Gosport Constituency. This morning she spoke with Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, about the potential benefits this could bring to the local area.
Gosport as a peninsular has well documented congestion problems due to a large commuter population and only limited roads in and out of the constituency. As such, Caroline has campaigned for years for the new Stubbington Bypass to help reduce traffic, but also worked with First Bus to improve services for local residents.
Councils and operators will be expected to provide:
- Simpler single bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs.
- More services in the evenings and at the weekends.
- Integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes in the area, so people can easily move from bus to train.
- Easy to access information, including online, so that services are simple to use.
- All buses to accept contactless payments.
“Buses are a great way to reduce traffic and help residents get from A to B, but this means services must be accessible and reliable.
“Over the years I have worked with Gosport, Fareham Borough Council and First Bus to help improve local services. I hope this new bus cash boost will benefit our area.”
Councils will also need to franchise services, as is the case in London, or establish statutory partnerships with operators – ensuring that they work in collaboration for the benefit of passengers. They will also be required to publish an improvement plan.
Such improvements will be underpinned by fundamental reforms to the sector, and will see operators need to work with their local councils on targets for improving passenger numbers, reliability and passenger satisfaction, to be eligible for future government funding.
Only councils and operators who work to meet these requirements will continue to receive the around £100 million per month emergency Covid funding for the sector, or any new sources of funding from the £3 billion investment.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Buses are lifelines and liberators, connecting people to jobs they couldn't otherwise take, driving pensioners and young people to see their friends, sustaining town centres and protecting the environment.
“As we build back from the pandemic, better buses will be one of our first acts of levelling-up.
“Just as they did in London, our reforms will make buses the transport of choice, reducing the number of car journeys and improving quality of life for millions."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Buses are this country’s favourite way of getting around. They help us get to school, to the GP, or to the shops–but services across England are patchy, and it’s frankly not good enough.
“The quality of bus service you receive shouldn’t be dependent on where you live. Everyone deserves to have access to cheap, reliable and quick bus journeys.
“The strategy I’m proud to unveil today will completely overhaul services, ensuring we build back better from the pandemic. Key to it is the new deal it offers to councils–we will provide unprecedented funding, but we need councils to work in partnership with operators, and the Government, to develop the services of the future.”