Midlands and northern buses to get £150m redirected HS2 funding
Redirected funding from HS2 has been pledged for the Midlands and North of England bus networks. The regions are set to receive £150m over the next financial year.
The funding is dedicated to levelling up bus services, with areas across the North and Midlands given extra support for services to become more frequent, more reliable, cheaper and easier to use.
This is the first tranche of £1 billion worth of new funding that the government is dedicating to bus services across the North and the Midlands as part of the Network North Plan. Further funding allocations are to be announced in due course.
Local authorities in partnership with operators are set to decide how best to use the funding. The money has come from funds redirected from the now cancelled section of the HS2 rail project.
The move is one of the latest bus initiatives announced by the government since the Conservative Party Conference, during which the extension of the £2 fare cap was announced. The cap had been due to rise to £2.50 but will instead remain at £2 and continue until 31 December 2024 thanks to the redirected HS2 funding behind the new Network North plan. This takes total government investment to cap bus fares at £2 to nearly £600 million.
“This is not enough clarity for bus operators and local transport authorities to confidently plan longer term bus investment” – Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT)
Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said: “The government’s announcement earlier this month of a further £1bn for buses over the next five years for the north of England and the Midlands was welcome news for the bus sector. Operators and local authorities are keen to get started in making this investment a success, and ensuring it delivers the improvements that passengers want.
“But this can’t happen without clear direction from government on how funding will be distributed.
“Today’s announcement confirms how just under a fifth will be allocated. This is not enough clarity for bus operators and local transport authorities to confidently plan longer term bus investment, while continuing to deliver good services for passengers.”
“This government is taking the right long-term decisions to deliver on our vision for a fairer and improved transport system” – Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Today’s announcement marks the start of the Network North plan coming into action.
“We’re backing buses with one of the biggest ever support packages and keeping bus fares down to ensure the country’s favourite means of transport is more affordable for millions of people.
“This government is taking the right long-term decisions to deliver on our vision for a fairer and improved transport system by investing billions back into to the transport projects that matter most to people and their communities.”
“Buses are the most popular form of public transport, which is why we are continuing to back our buses with record high levels of funding” – Transport Secretary, Mark Harper
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, which is why we are continuing to back our buses with record high levels of funding – supporting vital bus services and offering affordable travel for passengers.
“This increase in funding to deliver more reliable, frequent and affordable local bus services – and to extend the £2 bus fare cap – has only been possible with the redirected HS2 funding secured by this government making the right long-term.”
Community service boost
Today also sees community services for older people and vulnerable passengers receive a 60% funding boost.
The funding increase, made through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), will help keep fares down and has been hailed by charities and vulnerable passengers who have difficulty using regular buses and rely on community services to get around and combat loneliness.
This boost comes as part of the Government’s nearly £260 million annual BSOG payments to support bus services in England outside of London. This also includes up to £213 million for commercial bus operators and, for the tenth year, £42 million for Local Authorities.
“Today’s news will help more people get onboard with bus travel” – Janette Bell, Managing Director at First Bus
Janette Bell, Managing Director at First Bus, said: ‘‘At First Bus, we’re on a mission to get more people using the bus. Today’s news will help more people get onboard with bus travel, bringing benefits to society, local economies and the planet.”
“Bus is by far the most popular form of public transport in the West Midlands so it is great to see this investment which will benefit bus users” – Alex Jensen, National Express CEO UK, Ireland and Germany
Alex Jensen, National Express CEO UK, Ireland and Germany, said: “Bus is by far the most popular form of public transport in the West Midlands so it is great to see this investment which will benefit bus users. More people using buses is good for the economy, environment and wider society. Bus travel is simple, cheap and easy and there’s never been a better time to get onboard.”
- B&CB’s Group Editor, Mark Williams, talked about West Midland’s share of the £50m funding on BBC Radio West Midlands – click here to see what he had to say.
North East Combined Authority and North of Tyne Combined Authority – £11,202,000
Tees Valley Combined Authority – £3,851,000
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council – £880,000
Blackpool Council – £802,000
Cheshire East Council – £2,268,000
Cheshire West and Chester Council – £2,031,000
Warrington Borough Council – £1,200,000
Cumberland Council – £1,554,000
Westmorland and Furness Council – £1,289,000
Greater Manchester Combined Authority – £16,309,000
Lancashire County Council – £7,025,000
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – £8,825,000
Yorkshire & Humber
East Riding of Yorkshire Council – £1,946,000
Hull City Council – £1,519,000
North East Lincolnshire Council – £893,000
North Lincolnshire Council – £965,000
City of York Council – £1,153,000
North Yorkshire Council – £3,500,000
West Yorkshire Combined Authority – £13,373,000
South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority – £7,820,000
Derby City Council – £1,486,000
Leicester City Council – £2,096,000
North Northamptonshire Council – £2,045,000
Nottingham City Council – £1,840,000
Rutland County Council – £233,000
West Northamptonshire Council – £2,421,000
Derbyshire County Council – £4,519,000
Leicestershire County Council – £4,051,000
Lincolnshire County Council – £4,370,000
Nottinghamshire County Council – £4,691,000
Herefordshire Council – £1,064,000
Shropshire Council – £1,840,000
Stoke-on-Trent City Council – £1,469,000
Telford and Wrekin Council – £1,055,000
Staffordshire County Council – £4,982,000
Warwickshire County Council – £3,394,000
West Midlands Combined Authority – £16,604,000
Worcestershire County Council – £3,433,000