Better Bus Area

Launched in December 2011 by the Department for Transport, the £50 million Better Bus Area Fund provides grants of up to £5 million to a minimum of ten local authorities working in partnership with local bus operators.

Increasing bus patronage, creating growth and cutting carbon

The aim of the fund is to increase bus patronage in busy urban areas, create growth and cut carbon.

In partnership with local bus operators, the West of England authorities submitted a bid to the fund in February 2012. Some figures have been blanked out due to reasons of commercial confidentiality.

The Better Bus Area 2013 will build on, and widen the work on securing funding from government for transport improvements in particular the Greater Bristol Network and the Better Bus Area 2012 schemes.

A Better Bus Area 2 bid was submitted in July 2013.

Better Bus Areas redirect government subsidy away from individual operators and towards schemes that increase the number and frequency of bus users and help reduce operating costs. The government is aiming to make support for bus services more sustainable in the long term.

The West of England councils have worked with local bus operators to agree a suitable scheme and eight corridors have been selected for improvements.

Bids must demonstrate good value for money and must be carbon neutral or better so that, for example, additional bus mileage is balanced by fewer car journeys. In line with government guidance, the funding will be used to design, implement and monitor bus priority and traffic management measures, improvements to street infrastructure and passenger information.

Paul Matthews, Interim Managing Director for First in the West of England, said “The Better Bus Area 2 bid is something we fully support as it offers this area the opportunity to tackle head on some of the congestion issues that the city faces, improving transport for those within the city and those commuting to and from it.”

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