A THREE billion pound scheme to revamp the nation's buses has been welcomed by a Lancashire bus operator.

Transdev, which runs bus routes across the county, hopes that the National Bus Strategy, unveiled by prime minister Boris Johnson this week, will lead to simpler fares in towns and cities, more frequent services and hundreds of miles of new bus lanes to make journeys quicker and more reliable.

The plans have also been welcomed by Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham who described them as "the most ambitious reform to the sector in generations."

He said: "When we think of going to work, or heading to the town centre, our natural go-to is to jump in the car but a big part of that is because bus services aren't at the right time or frequency, or you can never be sure if you've missed it.

“This strategy, backed by £3 billion of government investment, is about changing that, creating a service that delivers for the people who use or want to use buses, delivering simpler fares, more reliable services, and better connections."

The ten-point Government plan sets out how the bus industry will work with regional and local authorities like those in Lancashire to deliver the improvements, through either a statutory ‘enhanced partnership’ with councils or by franchising.

In Lancashire, this could help to build on recent investment in Transdev's bus routes which has included 14 British-built buses worth £3.8 million launched in December 2020 on the Witchway express linking Burnley and Rawtenstall with Manchester.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Transdev CEO Alex Horner aboard one of the company's buses

Meanwhilr, the company also says that hundreds of miles of new bus lanes will also help to persuade more people to switch from the car to the bus, reducing pollution and making buses more efficient.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “Our company has been proud to lead the way when it comes to growing the market for bus travel and delighting our customers through our relentless focus on innovation and investment.

“We are pleased to see that the government is matching the confidence we have in the ability of the bus to drive a green, economic recovery and a clarity of vision on what is expected from bus operators and local authorities.

"This reflects many of the things we already deliver, day in and day out, as part of our continued attention on the needs of our customers, from ultra-low and zero emission buses, to attractive and frequent services and contactless day and week fare capping.

“However, the biggest opportunity to create growth in bus use could be the shared commitment now expected from operators and local authorities in terms of punctuality and timekeeping, and the funding to support more bus priority, as we know buses being on time is the customer’s key demand.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

A Transdev bus on a route in Manchester 

The National Bus Strategy aims to deliver:

  • An expectation that operators and local authorities work together in creating local bus improvement plans
  • More bus lanes to make journeys quicker and more reliable
  • Simpler fares with daily price caps
  • 4,000 new British-built electric or hydrogen powered buses
  • An end to sales of new diesel buses