The government has announced a new five-year £5bn funding package to improve bus and cycle links for every region outside of London.
The funding will be used to boost the bus services by having more frequent services, including during evenings and weekends and by having more ‘turn up and go’ routes, where passengers won’t have to be reliant on timetables to plan their journeys.
The funding will also be used to ensure that there are more efficient bus routes so that buses can avoid congestion, and it will be used to purchase at least 4,000 new zero-emission buses.
This announcement has come after plans were unveiled last week (February 6) by the Department for Transport to create the UK’s first ‘all-electric bus town’.
Cycle routes will also receive funding, with plans for over 250 miles of new separated cycle routes and safe junctions in towns and cities across England.
According to the government, the new routes will be built to new design standards that will ensure people can cycle safely, the plan is to make getting around by bike the more convenient option.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that the details of the five-year funding package will be announced in the National Bus Strategy, which will be published later this year.
Boris Johnson said: ‘Local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure across the country.
‘Our daily journeys for work or leisure are about so much more than just getting from A to B, they are the key to accessing skilled jobs and opportunities, boosting businesses and unlocking economic growth for towns, cities and regions across the country.
‘That’s why improving connectivity by overhauling bus services and making cycling easier than ever is an important step forward, to make sure every community has the foundations it needs to thrive.’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We want everyone across this country to have the transport services they need to improve their lives and opportunities – to do that, we must invest in the here and now.’
Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans said: ‘It has never been more important to make it easier to walk and cycle, to tackle climate change, poor air-quality, crippling congestion, and the mental and physical health of the nation.
‘We will, of course, examine the details of the funding closely to be assured that there is sufficient investment in active travel to meet the Government’s Cycling Walking Investment Strategy, but this promise of long-term funding has come at exactly the right time.’
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