£4m for local transport in rural areas…

Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, has announced that up to £4m is being made available to pilot new and better ways of delivering joined up local transport in rural and isolated areas. The DfT fund aims to promote a better coordination and utilisation of all available transport services in local communities. The department claims the £2bn worth of money provided for transport services each year is often not co-ordinated or integrated at a local level, resulting in duplication and potential waste of public funding. The pilot funding is intended to allow local authorities to show how transport resources can be used more efficiently by bringing organisations together, improving vital transport services in local areas.

The pilots are intended to fund the costs of feasibility studies and other groundwork to identify scope for service integration in individual areas. Successful bidders will then submit a detailed plan for delivering that integration to the DfT. Bidding is open to county councils, integrated transport authorities and unitary and combined authorities. The fund is exclusively for rural and isolated urban areas and the closing date for bids is 11 February 2015. The winners will be announced in March 2015.

Baroness Kramer said, ‘It is common sense that we ensure that those rural and isolated areas have vital transport services that meet the needs of local communities. We must ensure every penny is being used to get local people to hospitals, schools, towns and shops. That is why we are allocating £4m funding to help identify and coordinate all the available transport resources open to the local community, maximising their use and delivering better transport services and wider benefits to local people.’

. . . £27m for Bristol busways

Baroness Kramer has also announced a £27m government grant for a bus scheme in Bristol. The MetroBus network uses dedicated busways to provide new express bus services into the city. The infrastructure will also boost existing bus services, which will be able to use the busways. The new money is intended to support the second phase of the project and see the construction of another 3.1 miles of busways in the south of the city. The new South Bristol Link will connect to the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads MetroBus section already under construction. The rapid bus services are expected to help encourage people to use public transport and cut congestion, while cycling and walking will be helped by the inclusion of safe, dedicated paths running alongside the routes. The scheme will have a total cost of £43.3m and is scheduled to be completed by November 2016.

Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said, ‘Our support for Bristol’s MetroBus scheme shows this government is working to deliver a world-class transport network. This £27 million will create faster bus services for people who rely on this service every day and will be welcomed by commuters and tourists alike. It is part of the government’s long term economic plan to improve the lives of people up and down the country, by investing in transport, creating jobs and driving economic growth.’

Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, said, ‘This £27m will help transform travel around Bristol. The South Bristol Link will help get traffic off the roads, spark economic growth and link people to jobs. Our investment continues our commitment to help build stronger local economies, give our cities first rate transport systems and benefit the UK as a whole.’

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