Last reviewed 15 March 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a new bus strategy for England which will, he said, see lower, simpler flat fares in towns and cities, turn-up-and-go services on main routes and new flexible services to reconnect communities.
Describing it as the most ambitious reform to the sector in a generation, he promised £3 billion of investment that will level up services across the country and will encourage more people to use the bus, rather than the car.
“Just as they did in London,” the Prime Minister predicted, “our reforms will make buses the transport of choice, reducing the number of car journeys and improving quality of life for millions.”
Recognising that London-style services are not appropriate for all rural and suburban areas, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the recipients of £20 million from the “Rural mobility fund”.
This will enable on-demand services — such as minibuses booked via an app — to be trialled in areas where traditional bus services are not suitable.
The changes announced by Mr Johnson include:
simpler bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs
more services in the evenings and at the weekends
integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes, so people can easily move from bus to train
all buses to accept contactless payments.
There will also be hundreds of miles of new bus lanes intended to make journeys quicker and more reliable.
In addition, as part of the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, it will:
deliver 4000 new British-built electric or hydrogen buses to provide clean, quiet, zero-emission travel
transition cities and regions across England to emission-free buses, safeguarding the UK bus manufacturing industry
end sales of new diesel buses (with a consultation on the end date to be launched this week).
Finally, the Government will consult later this year on reforming the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), the current main stream of its bus funding.