Government to invest £1 billion each year to improve bus services
The government is expected to announce its intention to invest £5 billion over the next five years to improve bus and cycle routes around the country.
Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement in the Commons today.
Speaking to the BBC, Chancellor Sajid Javid described these plans as “essential” and criticised previous governments who had “let down” people outside of the major cities.
Alongside improving the bus network more generally, in terms of frequency and ticket prices, the funding will be used for new priority routes and 4,000 “zero-emission buses” in England and Wales.
Detailing these dual priorities, Javid said: “We want to see better connectivity between our great cities, but we also want to see better connectivity within the cities and towns we all live in. How do we make that journey to work, college and university?
“That is why we are investing so much more in buses. And it is also part of our green revolution.”
Beyond the bus network, this new funding will also be used to promote cycling.
Johnson is expected to promise to create 250 miles of new cycle paths and also make cycling in towns safer by expanding so-called “mini Holland” schemes. All of this funding will be allocated to regions outside of London.
The plans, however, were criticised by Labour, who accused Johnson of refusing to reverse “£645 million a year cuts to bus budgets, which have caused thousands of routes to be axed.”
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “After years of underinvestment and cuts, this unambitious announcement is nowhere near enough to make the difference the transport users, our economy or our environment need.
“Such paltry investment in cycling won’t be enough to stop the UK lagging behind similar European nations for cycling participation.”