Government plans to transform bus services ‘across the country’

As HS2 is approved, it seems the rest of us get the promise of an improved bus service, which doesn’t excite me as much as it should, really. 

According to the government, bus services across the country will be transformed with simpler fares, thousands of new buses, improved routes and higher frequencies. I can’t wait.

Be interesting to see how that affects the 6/6A Bude to Exeter service. Personally, I’d still like access to a train. It doesn’t have to be HS2, a rickety old thing like they get on the Tarka Line would be fine, just anything for us here in the SW really. If not a train, perhaps a tram service. Now I’m losing the plot and getting all whimsical. Back to reality.

In a statement to Parliament, the PM will announce £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London.

He will set out a new vision to level up local transport connections throughout the country, making everyday journeys easier, greener and more convenient.

The package of investment will boost bus services by focusing on a range of priorities, set to include:

  • Higher frequency services, including evenings and weekends, to make it easier and less restrictive for people to get around at any time of day
  • More ‘turn up and go’ routes where, thanks to higher frequency, people won’t have to rely on timetables to plan journeys
  • New priority schemes will make routes more efficient so that buses avoid congested routes and can speed passengers through traffic
  • More affordable, simpler fares
  • At least 4,000 new Zero-Emission Buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net-zero ambitions

I suspect these services will still mainly be urban and suburban rather than rural, but who knows?

The details of these programmes will be announced in the upcoming National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review, and follows the allocation of £170 million last week to support more electric buses, increase rural mobility and trial new ‘Superbus’ services.

Cycle routes will also see a major boost across the country with over 250 miles of new, high-quality separated cycle routes and safe junctions in towns and cities to be constructed across England, as part of the multi-billion pound package announced today.

Dozens of new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes will be taken forward to transform town centres across the country to make them safer to get around. These pilots of low-traffic neighbourhoods will see government working closely with local councils to reduce lorry traffic, making side streets safer to walk, cycle and play in while maintaining the vehicle access people need to get around.

As a core part of the Government’s work to create a long-term cycling programme and budget, all new routes will be built to tough new design standards, ensuring more people can cycle safely and making getting around by bike a more convenient option. Meanwhile, in Devon & Cornwall, potholes make cycling dangerous, and driving/walking not much better! 


Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure

Hopefully, our MPs in Cornwall and Devon are lobbying for some of that money and infrastructure to come down here.

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 this country.

That’s why improving connectivity by overhauling bus services and making cycling easier than ever is such 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.

Through today’s buses funding we’ll be bringing about a transformation in bus services to every community, speeding up journeys and capping fares to make high-quality services the norm.

Our long-term commitment to cycling could not be clearer, with money for new routes, more cyclist support and new ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes, set to make our streets the safest they have been for cyclists.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said:

We want to level up transport services in every region of the UK. As part of the plan, we are investing £5 billion in bus and cycle links.

The extra funding will improve people’s everyday journeys, making them quicker and easier.

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