North Somerset Council to approve historic bus improvement plan

Emergency bus services in Blagdon and Churchill

North Somerset's bus service could be transformed in the next three years. - Credit: Pixababy

A 'historic' multi-million-pound plan to transform North Somerset's bus services over the next three years has been presented to North Somerset Council.

Yesterday (June 22), the council was asked to approve plans which promise to deliver a reliable, faster and consistent bus service - with bus priority measures on key roads including the A370, A369 and A38.

Earlier this year, the council, alongside the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), was granted £105million by the Department for Transport (DfT) for bus improvements.

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Executive for Transport, Steve Hogg, described the DfT funding as 'truly transformational'. - Credit: Steve Hogg

Decarbonising North Somerset's buses has become a focal point of the plans, with the authority's executive for transport calling it 'essential' if it was to meet its carbon-neutral target.

Cllr Steve Hogg said: "We have declared a climate emergency and transport decarbonisation is an essential part of our action plan to reduce emissions to net-zero in North Somerset.

"Around 43 per cent of our carbon emissions are from transport and we cannot continue to use the car in the same way as we have done for the previous 50 years."

Of the £105million kitty,  the DfT earmarked £48million for capital improvements in North Somerset alone with a further £57.5million to be used as a pooled revenue fund with WECA to deliver the Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Cllr Hogg added: "This funding package offers a truly transformational level of funding, eclipsing anything previously seen in public transport in the history of North Somerset Council.

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"The investment represents a genuine opportunity to deliver many of the 2030 carbon reduction targets, by improving the effectiveness of public transport to a level that creates a genuine alternative to the use of private vehicles.”

The Bus Service Improvement Plan also aims to deliver "an ambitious fares support package to ensure that buses remain excellent value as inflationary costs impact on the bus industry".

A single bus network could be adopted under the plans, also. With one brand providing buses and bus stops.

One of First's buses outside the Grand Pier.

The plans will see bus priority measures on key roads including the A370, A369 and A38. - Credit: SUB

The improvements will be delivered through an Enhanced Partnership model, to be approved by the DfT.

This statutory agreement, between local transport authorities, bus operators and highway authorities, creates legally binding commitments to improve bus services and the facilities associated with them.

An Enhanced Partnership has the potential to bring about improvements quickly, and it puts in place a framework under which future bus service improvements can be delivered as the capital schemes are delivered.

For more information on the Bus Service Improvement Plan visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/parking-travel-roads/transport-travel/bus-travel/bus-service-improvement-plan