To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase bus use in (a) the North West, (b) Merseyside, (c) Wirral and (d) Wallasey constituency.
3 February 2020
The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision are primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. The Bus Services Act 2017 provides the tools local authorities need to improve local bus services and increase passenger numbers.
The Government wants to see a long term, sustained improvement in bus services. On 30 September last year, the Government announced that it will develop a national bus strategy for England, to underpin that ambition. Further details on this will be announced in due course. Alongside the commitment to a national strategy, we announced a package of measures worth £220 million, to transform bus services across the country. Those measures include creating ‘Superbus’ networks with higher frequencies and lower fares, trialling demand-responsive transport solutions in rural and suburban areas, and creating an all-electric bus town or city. We will shortly seek expressions of interest for those funds. We will also provide an extra £30 million in 2020/21 for local authorities, including the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to improve current supported bus services and to restore lost bus services where most needed.
The Government also continues to support bus services through the Bus Service Operator’s Grant (BSOG). £250m of BSOG payments are made to bus operators and local authorities. Bus operators and community transport organisations in the North West were paid a total of £28,029,122 BSOG in 2018-19 to help meet some of their fuel costs in running local bus services. Local authorities within the North West received a total of £7,896,387 in BSOG during 2018-19 to support subsidised local bus services. In addition to this a further £13,150,811 was devolved to Great Manchester Combined Authority for services running within the Greater Manchester area.
BSOG spend figures are published on Gov.uk and can be found via this link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-services-grants-and-funding. There are no specific figures for Wallasey, which is within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.