Cheaper bus fares as £7bn package to ‘level-up’ transport announced

Parts of the UK will benefit from a £7bn package to overhaul and level-up major local transport schemes.

The money will be spent on lowering bus fares to help tackle cost-of-living pressures as well as major upgrades to local tram, cycling & walking and rail networks.

Areas that are set to receive funding to level up their local bus services include Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, York and Warrington.

In total, 31 counties, city regions and unitary authorities are set to benefit from the package.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Buses are the most popular way of getting around in this country – but for too long people outside of London have had a raw deal.

“The investment we’re making today to ramp up the bus revolution will drive down fares at a time when people’s finances are tight and help connect communities across England.”

Mayoral combined authorities will also receive money for buses from the £5.7bn City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, which are also confirmed today.

The Government has also confirmed that tram and light rail operators across the Midlands and the North will also benefit from over £37m of Government support, with Manchester (£20.5m), the North East Nexus (£7.3m), the West Midlands (£2.7m), Sheffield (£4m) and Nottingham (£3.3m) all receiving a share from the Government’s multi-million-pound pandemic recovery package.

This money will be used to ensure light rail services continue to run and millions of passengers can continue to get around as the country emerges from the pandemic.

Today’s announcements, along with the funding of zero emission buses, and the bus elements of the increased City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, form part of the £3bn for bus transformation announced in 2020.