Bus service improvements to be voted on
In New Valley News
The Government's National Bus Strategy for England from February 2020 promised £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links outside of London. Now, Wiltshire Council has outlined its vision to help improve and increase bus use in the county.
The council said the draft Bus Service Improvement Plan outlines how it will spend funding allocated: more subsidised services, enhanced infrastructure and bus priority throughout the county and improving a flexible demand-responsive bus network in the Pewsey Vale area.
The aim is to ensure easier access to places of work and support the local economy. "Better bus services will provide increased provision and options for travel to shoppers accessing local centres. In turn, a better overall bus service will provide the car driver with a viable travel alternative and go towards increasing modal shift and benefiting the council's carbon neutral ambitions," a statement said.
In March 2020, a Government grant of £671,000 was used as revenue support to help to improve local bus services.
The council bid for £1.2 million to enhance demand responsive transport (DRT) bus service in the Pewsey Vale, to be available from summer 2022.
Almost 90% of 2,100 people who responded to a council survey said they would expect to use bus services at the same level as before the pandemic. The majority said that more frequent buses, more buses on a Sunday, and real-time bus service information would help enhance the service.
Wiltshire Council Cabinet, meeting on October 12, has been recommended to approve decisions, including the draft strategy and proposed bus service improvements. The final version of the council's strategy has to be submitted to the Department for Transport by the end of October.