Devolution of funding puts vital bus infrastructure at risk

Greener Journeys
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  • Vital commuter and leisure routes are at risk because there is no national direction for investment in infrastructure to improve bus services
  • New guide to help local decision-makers safeguard benefits of the bus and harness their potential to drive growth and jobs
  • Launched today at the first UK Bus Summit for 15 years, bringing together high-level policymakers and stakeholders from across the transport industry
  • Making the case for the bus will be the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport Minister, Northern Ireland Transport Minister, Scottish Transport Minister, Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester, as well as senior executives from the UK’s transport providers and interest groups

Crucial bus services are at risk as infrastructure funding is devolved to local decision-makers without appropriate national guidance in place, transport leaders have warned.

Greener Journeys – the campaign to promote sustainable travel – calls on the Government to safeguard the vital contribution of buses to the economy and communities by making a National Statement on Local Bus Infrastructure to guide spending decisions by local decision makers.

With the cost of congestion to the UK economy set to rise by a staggering 63% by 2030, to £20 billion per year1, investment in local bus infrastructure is essential to increase network reliability, reduce journey times and tackle local air pollution, with significant knock-on benefits for growth and jobs.

Bus infrastructure and selective priority measures are vital to the 5.1 billion journeys made each year in the UK by bus, and to bus commuters contributing an estimated £64 billion to the economy2. In order to help guide local decision makers on decisions related to bus infrastructure funding, Greener Journeys commissioned KPMG LLP to develop a new guide to help harness buses’ potential to boost economic growth, create jobs and strengthen communities. Drawing on expertise from 60 expert stakeholders, this new guide sets out eight policy recommendations to improve local bus infrastructure, including:

  • Objectives for local transport networks should be determined locally, aligned to Strategic Economic Plans and guided by national policy
  • Using efficient transport networks to facilitate economic growth
  • Continuing technological innovation and sharing of best practice measures
  • Developing reliable evidence on the likely contribution of specific infrastructure measures to growth

The guide will be launched at the landmark UK Bus Summit on 12 February 2015, the first of its kind for 15 years, with Government ministers including the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP and Minister of State for Transport, Baroness Kramer set to speak at the event.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys commented:
“As the Department for Transport devolves its capital funding, it is essential that vital bus infrastructure is supported in local growth plans. Over recent years our research has time and again shown just how crucial buses are to helping people into work, driving economic growth in Britain’s towns and cities and to building cohesive and prosperous communities.

“I welcome today’s report on how to deliver successful bus infrastructure schemes and to make transport networks perform better. We stand ready to work with local enterprise partnerships, to harness the full potential of the bus to generate growth, boost jobs and protect the environment.

“But central Government can and must play a more positive role as well. This is why Greener Journeys is calling for a National Statement on Local Bus Infrastructure, which would show local decision makers how to use the full potential of the bus to deliver growth.”

Gerard Whelan, Director at KPMG said:
“The report highlights increasing recognition that investing in transport networks can improve economic productivity and competitiveness, leading to growth in economic output and jobs.

“The creation of the Local Growth Fund and investment in local economies through Growth Deals presents an opportunity for local decision-makers to make a long-term commitment to investing in transport infrastructure. The report concludes that in our towns and cities, investing in high quality local bus infrastructure must be considered as a key ‘enabler of growth’, improving connectivity and creating economic hubs.

-ENDS-

For further information contact:

Greener Journeys Press Office
press@greenerjourneys.com or +44 (0)20 3128 8555
A copy of the research is available here

Notes to Editors:

UK Bus Summit
The Bus Summit will take place on 12 February 2015 from 9.00am – 4.30pm at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.
Entry for media is free. More details can be found here.

About the research
The report draws on a series of interviews with 60 stakeholders from local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, trade associations, interest groups and bus operators.
The research builds on a series of recent Greener Journeys studies that underline the significant economic and social value of the bus to the UK, a number of recommendations emerged including:

Policy recommendations

  • Objectives for local transport networks should be determined locally, aligned to Strategic Economic Plans and guided by national transport policy
  • Efficient transport networks are central to improving connectivity and facilitating economic growth
  • Partnership working between local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and bus operators is required to identify where and which infrastructure measures will deliver most benefit
  • Continuous technological innovation and sharing of best practice measures will help develop the right solutions to suit local conditions
  • Developing reliable evidence on the likely contribution of specific infrastructure measures to growth and jobs is central to good decision-making
  • Programme minima are likely to be important in the prioritisation of local bus infrastructure schemes, especially where access to jobs, access to essential services and environmental improvements are specific targets
  • The development of local transport plans, supported by political consensus on priorities for investment over the short, medium and longer term, together with a commitment to fund the investment is required to create successful places
  • Scheme delivery is only the first stage to realising the benefits on investment. It must be followed by firm plans for asset management, network regulation and network monitoring

Previous Greener Journeys research

  • Previous research in partnership with KPMG LLP published in October 2014 which found that bus funding delivers up to £3.50 of economic benefits for every £1 spent [3]
  • A landmark report published in July 2014, Buses and the Economy II (conducted by the University of Leeds for Greener Journeys in partnership with the DfT) [4] which revealed the significant relationship between accessibility by bus and employment and found jobseekers are heavily dependent on buses, with 77% having no access to a car, van or motorbike [5]
  • Greener Journeys research published in June 2014 which showed investment in bus related infrastructure and priority measures generated £3.32 of social, economic and environmental benefits for each £1 spent [6]

[1] CEBR, 2014

[2] Institute for Transport Studies, Buses and Economic Growth, 2012

[3] Greener Journeys and KPMG, Costs and benefits of the Bus Service Operators Grant, 2014 

[4] Institute for Transport Studies, Buses and the Economy II, 2013

[5] Institute for Transport Studies, Buses and the Economy II, 2013

[6] Greener Journeys and KPMG, A National Statement on Local Bus Infrastructure Executive Summary, 2014 

About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead.  Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save two million tonnes of CO2 every year. It is a coalition of Britain’s leading bus companies and other supporters including Transport for London, Passenger Focus, Campaign for Better Transport, the RAC Foundation, Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT), and the Passenger Transport Executive Group (pteg).  Its primary funders are bus companies Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach. For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com

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