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Additional Funding for Buses

Volume 542: debated on Friday 23 March 2012

I am today announcing the winning bidders for the Better Bus Area and Green Bus Fund competitions, which we launched before Christmas 2011.

Taken together, this significant investment will get more people on buses, and so aid the Department’s overarching objectives of helping to create growth and cut carbon.

The quality of the bids for the Better Bus Area Fund and Green Bus Fund have been excellent and I am pleased to report that because of the prudent financial management of the Department’s funds by the Secretary of State and her ministerial team, I have been able to increase the allocations previously announced, from £20 million to £31 million in respect of the Green Bus Fund, and from £50 million to £70 million in respect of the Better Bus Area Fund.

Projects under these two funds will help drive forward our bus travel in England, helping buy, amongst other things:

439 low-carbon buses to forge the future of the low-carbon economy (we expect the majority of these to be manufactured in the UK);

the development of hop-on hop-off multi-operator tickets that put spontaneity back into the hands of the passenger;

real time information for bus passengers and for bus operators to cut down waiting time and prevent buses bunching up. No more waiting for a bus and then three come along at once;

smarter traffic lights that recognise buses and give them priority with barely an impact on other traffic.

Twenty-four lead local transport authorities across England will benefit from the £70m Better Bus Area Fund, right across the country. Five local transport authorities and 26 bus companies have been awarded £31 million of Green Bus funding.

Together this package will encourage people onto the bus, cutting congestion, promoting a low-carbon transport infrastructure and encouraging growth.

Documents listing the successful bidders under each competition have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and are being published on the DFT website.

I will be in a position to make a further statement on bus subsidy reform in the near future.