Boris Johnson will unveil a £5bn, five-year package for bus services and cycle lanes in England, as a measure by the government pushed towards reversing some of the damage of austerity cuts to public transport.
The announcement follows Boris Johnson expectation to give the green light to the contentious high-speed rail project HS2 during a meeting of the cabinet in Downing Street on Tuesday. A report by BBC on Monday reveal that the project would be given the full energy to kick-off.
Notwithstanding the fact that people prefers using buses for movement than any other mode of transport, funding for those services has reduced tremendously over the last decade with over 3,000 routes altered, reduced or even withdrawn.
The Campaign for Better Transport, in a report noted that local authority spending on bus services has been cut down by £162m, or 43 per cent, in real terms in comparison to 2009-10.
The organisation added that out of the 88 local transport authorities in England, not to include London – 82 had reduced their provisions in real terms over the past 10 years.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will in a statement to parliament on Tuesday say that the £5bn fund will focus on priorities such as higher frequency services during the evenings and on weekends, and “more affordable, simpler fares”.
The Prime Minister also looks to pledge to introduce over 250 miles of new, separated cycle routes across England as part of the package.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) assured that details of the five-year funding package would be announced in the National Bus Strategy, which will be published in 2020.
Mr Johnson said: “Local transport connections have a truly transformative role in levelling up infrastructure across the country.
“Our daily journeys from work or leisure are about so much more than getting from A to B – they are they key to accessing skilled jobs and opportunities, boosting businesses and unlocking economic growth for tows, cities and regions across this country.”
Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said: “After years of under investment and cuts, this unambitious announcement is nowhere enough to make the difference that transport users, our economy or our environment need.”
He added: “The Conservatives are refusing to revere their colossal £645m a year cuts to bus budgets, which has caused thousands of routes to be axed and fares to soar.
“Such paltry investment in cycling won’t be enough to stop the UK lagging behind similar European nations for cycling participation.”
Sajid Javid, the chancellor, added: “We want to level up transport services in every region of the UK. As part of the plan, we are investing £5bn in bus and cycle links. The extra funding will improve people’s everyday journeys, making them quicker and easier.”
Darren Shirley, the chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “This is a significant step change from the government and welcome news for communities up and down the country who have borne the brunt of poor or non-existent local public transport in recent years.
“Appropriately allocated, this funding should help to improve air quality and drive down carbon emissions by supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles; reduce fares and speed up journey times; and restore lost services and routes that have left many communities disconnected.”