Within the context of delivering our long-term strategy for improving bus services across the country, the most recent steps taken by the Government include:
Providing local authorities in England with the resources to support their Local Transport Plan strategies, a large part of which are related to improving bus-related infrastructure (some £571 million invested by local authorities between 2001-02 and 2004-05 in bus improvements);
The introduction of free local concessionary fares for older and disabled people from April 2006, and the announcement of free national concessionary fares from April 2008;
Up to £200 million per year of the Transport Innovation Fund (from 2008-09) has been made available specifically to support packages of measures that will address congestion in towns and cities through demand management and public transport improvements, including better bus services;
Allocating £20 million to fund 43 Kickstart schemes to pump-prime promising local bus services;
£54 million available for 2006-07 to support rural bus services.
Providing capital funding for major bus schemes, such as the £42 million contribution towards the Greater Bristol Bus Network scheme.
Over the coming months we will be looking at the success of these, and other initiatives, with a view to developing future plans to encourage bus use.