In 2019 the Financial Times reported that bus funding in England had been slashed by 40% in 10 years in their article entitled Bus funding in England slashed by 40% in 10 years with more than 3,000 services lost or reduced after years of austerity cuts. Now the Government seems to be making a ‘U-turn. Back in March the Government issued a Policy paper entitled Bus back better – A long-term strategy for buses in England, outside London. The Government has pledged £3 billion in funding across the country. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it, but in reality this money has to be shared with big cities and councils right across England. That means there is no guarantee that East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, or Brighton & Hove City Council will get their (our) fair share – or even get any money at all! Why is that, you may ask. Well, in order to get funding the councils with transport responsibility have to bid for the funds. Grant Shapps and his mates at the Department of Transport (DfT) will then decide who gets what.
The object is for local councils to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) by 31st October 2021. A BSIP will formulate the delivery of outcomes required by the National Bus Strategy (NBS) as detailed in the government’s Bus Back Better policy paper. The BSIP is intended to be produced with bus companies and other partners. If the councils across East & West Sussex and Hampshire don’t put in a good bid, they may not get any money at all! Their bids must be as ambitious as possible.
Four councils in our region have a transport responsibility and they have the opportunity to submit a bid:
- Brighton & Hove City Council
- East Sussex County Council
- Hampshire County Council
- West Sussex County Council
Rural communities, towns and villages
The South Downs Network will be submitting some proposals to these councils focused on the needs of RURAL COMMUNITIES TOWNS & VILLAGES which have seen the biggest cuts to their bus services in the last 10 years. We have already voiced the concern of rural communities to the Government in our response to the Rural Transport Review in Feb 2021. See our submission and a summary of what we said: Message to the Government – make rural transport a priority!
The South Downs Network would like to hear from you on what is needed in your local area. Please email us your ideas CLICK HERE. Please see some suggestions in the document below.
Please send any comments by Mon 6th Sept.
Please also contact the councils directly. East and West Sussex have a public consultation open on their proposals (closes on 14 Sep 2021):
Hampshire County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council have not published a consultation but let us know your views and we will pass them on to these two councils,
Would you like more information? CLICK HERE