CPT boss says National Infrastructure Strategy is an opportunity to ensure that buses are given priority

 
Boris Johnson speaking in Dudley this week

 
Boris Johnson set out the first steps in the strategy to “rebuild Britain and fuel economic recovery across the UK” in a speech in Dudley on June 30.

Before the coronavirus crisis, buses were at the heart of the prime minister’s domestic policy agenda. In a speech Manchester last August, he declared his “love” for buses and pledged to to “begin as a matter of urgency the transformation of local bus services”.

With the government now asking people not to use public transport in order to enable social distancing on services, buses appear to have slipped down the agenda. The only time Johnson mentioned them in his Dudley speech was to repeat the pledge that the government made in February to fund the delivery of 4,000 brand new zero carbon buses. No clues were offered about how the government will help to rebuild bus use, after months of telling people to stay away.

Responding to the speech on behalf of the bus industry, Confederation of Passenger Transport chief executive Graham Vidler said that buses must play a central role in plans to scale-up infrastructure investment.

Buses are central to delivering the prime minister’s New Deal by helping to connect people sustainably with new job and skill opportunities across the country

“Buses are central to delivering the prime minister’s New Deal by helping to connect people sustainably with new job and skill opportunities across the country,” he said.

“Despite delivering £10s of billions to the economy each year buses are often forgotten in transport planning meaning they become stranded in congestion, which we know causes economic harm. The National Infrastructure Strategy is an opportunity to ensure that buses are given priority in the transport network and any new road scheme or development must be evaluated for its ability to improve bus and coach journey times.

“Buses are the best way of using our road network to get large numbers of people to work and to leisure and retail venues to help deliver the prime minister’s New deal. We look forward to working with the government and the UK’s bus manufacturing sector to ensure the bus network can help deliver the ambitions … set out today.”

 
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