Council bids to make buses better for all
Nottinghamshire County Council has unveiled ambitious plans to transform bus services across the county.
In a £98m bid to Government, the Council has included proposals to improve bus services, simplify fares and tickets, install more real-time displays and improve accessibility at bus stops. The Council has also expressed an interest to bid for further monies to increase the number of electric buses and explore the option of introducing hydrogen buses to reduce CO2 emissions in Nottinghamshire’s market towns.
The proposals form part of two Bus Service Improvement Plans that the County Council has submitted, one in partnership with Nottingham City Council covering the conurbation and the other covering the rest of Nottinghamshire, to reflect the different operating environments. The Plans are the latest steps towards two new ‘enhanced partnerships’ between councils and bus operators - formal agreements required by the government that will give Notts access to a share of a £3bn Government bus service improvement fund.
Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We already have a well-loved bus service across Nottinghamshire with customer satisfaction rates at 94%. If successful, we’ll be able to build on the £4.1m we already invest in supporting bus services and deliver a first-class bus network for thousands of passengers across the county.
“Over the summer we ran a survey to find out what people wanted to change about buses and what would make them more likely to choose bus travel in the future. We received lots of suggestions for improvement and aspirations for the future and these have helped shape the City and County’s proposals, so thanks to everyone who took part.
“One of the main concerns expressed in the survey was that fares and tickets can often be complicated, and so that’s why one of our priorities in the plan is to not only simplify this, but also create a concessionary fare scheme for young people.”
When asked what improvements would make residents use the bus at all/more, the key issues identified were:
- more frequent services to more destinations (84%), with better connections between services that operate over longer hours of the day (75%)
- improved bus information (78%), including stops and shelters (78%) where information is provided
- multi operator ticketing (72%) to make it easier to transfer between services, along with lower fares (72%) (or at least are more cost effective than comparable car journeys) and contactless payment (71%)
- reduced delays (71%) and faster and more reliable journey times, that are more competitive with the private car (69%).
Councillor Clarke added: “The Plan sets out measures to address each of these issues and we’re proud to be working closely with Nottingham City Council and local bus operators to make bus travel better throughout greater Nottingham and the rural areas and market towns of the County. Over the next five years we want to build a sustainable, efficient, and growing bus network with sustainability at its heart- providing modern, cleaner, greener travel for everyone.”
The plans have now been submitted to the Government, who will allocate a share of funding to all local authorities across the UK as part of their £3bn investment in bus services and infrastructure.
To read both the County and Greater Nottingham Bus Service Improvement Plans visit: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/transport/public-transport/bus-service-improvement-plans-for-nottinghamshire