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Public Transport

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage people to use public transport. (256816)

The Local Transport Act 2008, which secured Royal Assent in November 2008, will give local authorities enhanced powers to deliver better bus services and a more integrated transport system tailored to local needs.

We are also investing heavily in improving both bus and rail services. Local and central Government now provide £2.5 billion in supporting the local bus network, double the level of spending a decade ago. This includes £1 billion for free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England for older and eligible disabled people and £57 million through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant.

We have also launched a new Kickstart bus funding competition which offers local transport authorities the chance to bid for a share of £25 million to pump-prime new or enhanced bus services in partnership with bus operators.

The Government are putting record investment in rail as part of their strategy to give people an alternative to travelling by road and meet our environmental obligations on CO2 emissions. Over £10 billion will be invested in enhancing capacity between 2009 and 2014, with overall Government support for the railway totalling £15 billion.