Reaction to Bus Service Improvement Plan funding across the East

Yesterday the Department for Transport (DfT) announced funding allocations for the Bus Service Improvement Plans. Our member authority, Norfolk County Council, received almost £50m. However, they were the only successful transport authority in the region.

“Bus services are an essential connection for many people across the East and crucial to net zero transport. We are disappointed to see Norfolk are the only authority in the region to secure additional funding” – Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chair Transport East

Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) are one of the DfT’s key mechanisms for delivering their Bus Back Better Strategy. The aim of the Strategy is to dramatically improve bus services outside London, reversing the decline in bus usage through greater local leadership in partnership with bus operators.

Local authorities and operators were given tight deadlines to develop ambitious plans setting out how they would jointly improve local bus services. Our members committed substantial time and resources developing plans with their local communities.

It is deeply frustrating to see four of our member authorities receive no additional funding in response to this effort. This emphasises the need for increased devolution of long-term funding to transport authorities so they can deliver the sustainable transport networks their communities need.

We will now work with all of our members to understand how we can help progress their BSIPs in light of this funding announcement. Last financial year, we received an additional £300,000 for a joint piece of work with our neighbouring Sub-national Transport Bodies – England’s Economic Heartland and Transport for the South East. This will support our regions’ BSIP work and was part of an additional funding allocation from the DfT.  We will work together to identify where we can add most value, to help more people to travel by public transport in our regions.