April 10 2024

Responding to the Labour’s party’s plans for a better bus network across England

Confederation of Passenger Transport CEO Graham Vidler said,

“CPT and its members are committed to working with local leaders whatever the regulatory model any future government may bring forward for the sector. Operators in Greater Manchester for example are working flat out in cooperation with the Mayor to ensure successful delivery of the new Bee Network.

“Local leaders already have extensive opportunities to influence and shape delivery of bus services through the contractual arrangements available under ‘enhanced partnerships’. Local authorities and operators in places like Leicester, Portsmouth and Norfolk are already demonstrating the extent to which real improvements in the passenger experience can be delivered without further regulatory reform.

“Whatever the regulatory approach, we know that passengers want more bus services going to more places that are also more reliable and more swift. Better buses will require a stronger focus and sustained investment in these passenger priorities, something we call for in our manifesto for bus Driving Britain Forward. “

Driving Britain Forward CPT’s manifesto for bus sets out six key priorities for the next government:

The government should maximise the value for money of its investment by announcing a five-year spending plan, as happens in rail. This should include an updated reimbursement mechanism for free travel by older and disabled people which is clear, fair and which reflects post-pandemic travel patterns

The next government should continue to support passengers from January 2025 with a package of targeted measures that support sustainable modal shift.

The next government should set and monitor a target for all local transport authorities to increase bus speeds by 10% over the lifetime of the next parliament. Councils in the north and midlands can use existing capital funding streams to invest in bus priority measures which offer immediate customer benefit, a long-lasting impact and great value for money; the next government will need to ensure that southern councils also have access to capital funding to deliver bus priority in their areas.

The next government should work with us and councils to adopt a simple definition of essential services into legislation and, over time, fund councils to invest in missing services.  

The next government should announce a five year £1 billion investment programme to leverage more private sector investment in new vehicles and put us on track to a zero emission fleet by the middle of the next decade.

The next government should put its full support behind an industry-led strategy to develop the workforce the sector needs to grow and to prepare for the zero emission future