In January 2009, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon) the then Secretary of State for Transport announced the launch of a second round of Kickstart bus funding. I am pleased to announce today the provisional successful bidders from the competition. A list of these has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The scheme was launched with funding of £25 million, this has been revised to £15 million. The successful bids represent the best possible value for money for the Department. I have written today to the provisional successful bidders, asking them to confirm their interest in the scheme.
Kickstart is targeted at schemes which have the potential to become successful but which initially might be more marginal in commercial terms and require some financial help to start them off, or which are currently marginal schemes that with some extra support could be made more successful.
Through Kickstart, we are looking to pump-prime bus services which will contribute to the Department’s overall objectives of increasing bus patronage, and in particular developing bus services as an alternative to car use, bringing with it a reduction in congestion and benefits to the environment. It will also contribute to objectives on improving accessibility and social inclusion. This round focused on schemes which make use of the new bus powers in the Local Transport Act 2008. We hope this will allow us to build up good practice on the use of these powers to promulgate to other local authorities and operators.