Better bus services in the North East thanks to a further £45 million funding boost
Additional funding will help lower bus fares, improve local transport connections and reduce journey times.
Residents across the North East will benefit from more reliable, punctual and cheaper bus services thanks to more than £45 million of new government funding to improve local transport connections, make travel more affordable and grow the economy.
The Department for Transport has today (30 June 2023) confirmed that Transport North East, on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee, will receive £45.6 million for the region’s bus service improvement plan (BSIP) to improve local bus services, speed up bus journey times and deliver lower fares to help passengers save money on travel.
The move follows the initial government investment of £117.8 million, bringing total funding to improve bus services in the North East to £163.5 million since 2022.
It comes shortly after Transport North East launched a new £1 bus fare for all under 22s and the North East Joint Transport Committee agreed to provide free travel passes for 18- to 25-year-old care-experienced people thanks to government funding.
With better transport connections crucial to growing the economy, improvements to local bus services will help local residents save money and travel to work, go shopping, access medical appointments and see loved ones more easily.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said:
Tens of thousands of people across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham rely on the bus to get around every day. That’s why we’re confirming over £45 million to improve local bus services and help build the modern, reliable and affordable bus network all residents in the North East deserve. We’ve now invested more than £3.5 billion since 2020 to protect bus routes in England outside London and help people ‘Get Around for £2’, as we leave no stone unturned to level up transport, help people save money on travel and grow the economy.
The funding follows a recent investment of £200 million to help people save money on travel by extending the £2 bus fare cap until 31 October, which will continue at £2.50 for another year until November 2024.
A further £300 million is also being provided to bus operators and local authorities, including in the North East, to protect crucial bus routes into 2025 and provide long-term stability to the bus industry.
This builds on over 3 years’ worth of government support totalling over £2 billion to help the sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and more than £1 billion to support local authorities deliver their long-term local plans to improve services. This takes total government investment to support and improve bus services to £3.5 billion since 2020.
Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said:
I‘m pleased to welcome this funding, which brings our region’s total bus service improvement plan award to £163.5 million. Our region came together and created a truly ambitious BSIP, so I’m delighted that our determination to improve the transport network for passengers has been recognised. This funding will help us to bring forward a range of initiatives that make bus travel much more affordable and easier to use for all, as well as allow us to support the bus industry through some very difficult times in the wake of the recent pandemic.