Campaign group guides better bus strategy
A report by sustainable transport charity Campaign for Better Transport has highlighted how the government can help local authorities provide better bus services.
The ‘National Bus Strategy: Capacity and Capability’ report, commissioned by the DfT and written by Campaign for Better Transport, looked at what barriers local transport authorities (LTAs) face in delivering the better local bus services outlined in the government’s National Strategy for Buses.
It found that constraints in capacity and capabilities, together with a number of institutional and structural barriers, had the potential to lead to a significant gap between the expectations of the Strategy and what LTAs could deliver on the ground.
To address this gap, Campaign for Better Transport recommends the government provides immediate targeted support for LTAs, with more longer-term support available through the newly established Bus Centre of Excellence. The recommendations have already been used by the DfT to share funding allocations and the support on offer.
“The competitive nature of bus funding was one of the main concerns highlighted by local authorities and this is something that still needs to be addressed” – Silviya Barrett, from charity Campaign for Better Transport
Silviya Barrett, from charity Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We are extremely pleased that this report is now available and even more pleased that the government has not only recognised many of its findings, but already started to implement some, including launching the Bus Centre of Excellence.
“The competitive nature of bus funding was one of the main concerns highlighted by local authorities and this is something that still needs to be addressed. A single long-term funding pot for all local authorities would go a long way to helping deliver good, affordable and reliable local bus services across the country.”
Having discovered a number of barriers faced by different types of LTAs, Campaign for Better Transport’s report recommended that the government provide targeted support to help LTAs meet the immediate requirements of the Strategy and made a number of suggestions on how best the Bus Centre of Excellence can support their longer-term needs.
Silviya Barrett added: “As a member of the stakeholder group, we are working closely with the Bus Centre of Excellence to help deliver the support local authorities need to improve bus services. We also work directly with local authorities to help them implement their transport improvement plans and would encourage any local authority which could do with our help to get in touch.”