Strategy published for North Northants bus improvementsParking, roads and transport
19 November 2021
A strategy on how North Northamptonshire Council can improve bus services in the area – particularly to respond to the impact that Covid-19 has had on the sector – has been published by the local authority and approved by its Executive yesterday.
Forming part of the Government’s National Bus Strategy – ‘Bus Back Better’ - recommendations include forming an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with bus companies, towns and parishes, passengers and businesses.
Such an arrangement would allow access to a £3 billion funding pot to assist with sustaining, re-introducing and developing bus routes, which otherwise could potentially be lost as they would not be deemed commercially viable.
The strategy also lays out how it will work towards increasing reliability of journeys, boosting the number of passengers and ensuring people are happier with the service provided.
The plans also include proposals for multi-operator ticketing for journeys within and in and out of North Northamptonshire as well as working with bus operators to resume their investment in new, more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Improving bus services, especially in rural areas, was an important part of our manifesto, so I’m delighted that we have published our proposals by the deadline and now we can move forward to the next stage of the process to improve bus services in North Northants.Cllr Graham Lawman, the council’s executive member for Highways, Travel and Assets
There are a myriad of reasons why an efficient bus service that is more attractive and convenient for passengers to use is good for our area and we’re fully committed to do what we can to work towards this goal, whether it’s fixed routes or on-demand services for more rural areas.
With COP26 having recently taken place, I’m delighted that we’re seeing the start of our good work to improve the bus network in North Northants as the environmental benefits of us all making more journeys on public transport are well known.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council
A better bus network also enhances links between communities. Our investment in these rural routes will help tackle the issue of social isolation, which many face in these areas and which has been particularly acute during the pandemic.
This first Bus Service Improvement Plan represents initial proposals over a medium-term timeframe of about three to five years, but, will be regularly reviewed before then. It has been informed by the results of a public consultation during September and October 2021 with more planned in the near future.
In March 2021 the Government published Bus Back Better, the National Bus Strategy for England to transform bus services and help the bus industry recover from the effects of COVID-19.
In order to proceed with the strategy and access future Government funding for buses, the Department of Transport (DfT) had asked councils to demonstrate a commitment to develop plans by June 30, 2021 and required councils to publish their own Bus Service Improvement Plan by the end of October 2021.
The DfT requires all Enhanced Partnerships to be in place by April 2022.