Dorset Council has submitted its bid for the government Â£ 3bn Bus Back Better fund to revitalize the country’s bus services.
In March, the government launched Bus Back Better, a new national bus strategy for England aimed at rejuvenating local bus services by making them:
- More attractive to passengers
- More affordable
- Easier to understand and use
- Faster and more reliable
This strategy requires each authority to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to coordinate future services and investments through an enhanced partnership (EP) or franchise approach.
Dorset Council has developed its BSIP by working closely with local bus operators, community and business voices, bus passengers and the voluntary and health transport sectors.
This BSIP is an ambitious plan. It focuses on revitalizing the local bus network, reversing the decline in passenger use of local buses and having more buses, to more locations and operating for longer periods of the day.
The main objectives of the BSIP are:
- Dramatically increase the number of people using local buses in Dorset
- Increase daily services with a mix of fixed and flexible services in rural and urban Dorset
- Develop a range of on-demand public transport services provided by a mix of operators by identifying gaps in the current local bus network
- Continue to protect Dorset’s environment by switching to a fleet of low-carbon local buses
- Create and maintain a comprehensive network of travel options to connect communities and reduce rural isolation.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and the Environment, said:
âThis plan is just the start. To get people to use the bus, we need to have a long term plan and long term government funding guarantee for at least 5 years so that we can change people’s perspective and build their confidence to use the bus .
Cllr. Noc Lacey-Clarke, Chief of Staff for Environment, Travel and Ports, said:
âWe want to develop a bus strategy accessible to all, with particular attention to access to training, education and work.
Once the BSIP is submitted, the board will wait for an announcement from the government on whether it will receive money from the fund and how much. Once the amount is known, a modified BSIP and an action plan will move the plans forward.
Comments, suggestions and ideas can be emailed to [email protected]