Transport Minister Norman Baker announced a series of new measures today that will reform the way the Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG) operates.
Key new measures include the devolution of distribution of some of the BSOG to local authorities and the creation of a new local government fund to try and improve services and boost passenger numbers – Better Bus Areas.
These reforms are an important step in protecting and improving bus services across England.
First and foremost the further confirmation that BSOG funding has been safeguarded is an essential step in ensuring the England’s buses continue to provide a first-rate service to the users who make 4.7 billion trips every year up and down the country.
Within the wider measures announced today the ring fencing of the devolved bus subsidy is particularly crucial. This will give operators the certainty they need to continue to provide high-quality, forward-looking services and will give passengers more security that services so vital to their lives will continue.
Better targeting of funding is also a positive move. Making sure services connect the right people to the right places – to places they can work, learn and spend – will boost patronage and help grow the economy. Additionally, if better services are targeted at the people that really rely on them there could be important ramifications for communities right across England, especially those with high proportions on lower incomes – over two-thirds of Jobseekers Allowance claimants have no access to their own car or cannot drive and 44% of workless households do not have access to a car or van compared with 22% of all households.
We welcome the new measures announced today and look forward to continuing to work with the Government to help ensure that this country’s brilliant and essential bus services continue to serve the people that need them across the country.