An ambitious plan to improve bus services is already underway which could result in simpler, cheaper fares, consistent high-quality information about services in more places, and more efficient and frequent services in the evenings and weekends.
This is due to a major change in the way they are funded and organised, with the Government’s new National Bus Strategy requiring councils and bus operators to work more closely together, and alongside local communities, to create a network that people want.
It could mean much higher levels of investment in buses in the future, but first the county council needs to produce a Bus Improvement Plan which sets out Lancashire’s priorities, and what changes would make people more likely to choose the bus for regular journeys.
County Coun Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The Government’s new strategy for buses is an enormous opportunity to create a network which works better for passengers, and makes catching the bus a more attractive option for everyone.
“They have set aside £3bn for the programme over the current Parliament, with the potential for Lancashire to get a lot more funding than we are at the moment, and make some really big improvements to services across the county.
“The focus is on improvements being locally-led, with councils and transport operators working closely together, and with communities, to create a more cohesive set of services, and agree where investment should be prioritised.
“Depending on what people want, it could mean having lower fares, simpler ticketing options, more services especially during evenings and weekends, better timetable information, and measures to make services quicker and more reliable, such as bus-only lanes, and using technology to improve services.
“The first step is for us to gather some information about how people would like to see services improved, and I’m grateful for people taking a few minutes to complete our quick online survey.
“It will be time well spent as it will help us to make a strong case about what we could achieve with more funding, and how we would use this funding to attract more people to become regular users of their local bus.”
Feedback from the survey will be used to help the county council produce a Bus Improvement Plan, by the end of October, which sets out what buses are currently like in Lancashire, and how to reduce some of the barriers to bus usage and growth. This will inform an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme, an agreement between the county council and operators about how services will operate from April 2022, and how improvements will be delivered in the coming years.
The survey is open until September 30.
To take part go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/public-transport