Transport minister Norman Baker has announced a new £50m fund that aims to improve partnership working between bus operators and local authorities in order to boost bus use.

Bids for the Better Bus Areas Fund could include measures to reduce congestion, provide better information to passengers, make improvements to bus stations or encourage people to switch to buses from the car in densely populated urban areas.

The award of funding will be dependent on back of the proposals, submitted by local authorities, from a least one local bus operator.

The government also announced today a further £10 million to support the development of Community Transport, which will provide funding to 76 local authorities.

Today’s injection of £60m into the transport sector comes on top of the announcements in the Autumn Statement which provided £20m for a third round of the Green Bus Fund and £10m to fit pollution reduction technology to London’s bus fleet.

“This package of bus measures will support growth in our economy by creating better links to work, shops and schools, as well as helping to cut carbon emissions,” said Baker.

“This huge injection of £50m for our new Better Bus Areas will encourage partnership working between good local authorities and good bus companies, which will benefit bus passengers.

“In terms of the Green Bus Fund announcement, the UK is fast establishing itself as a world leader in low carbon bus technology, and I am proud to deliver this vote of confidence in our bus building industry. This is great news for jobs and manufacturing in this country.”

He continued: “The £20m being provided is in addition to the £47 million that has already helped put 540 new low carbon buses on our roads and demonstrates how serious we are about reducing carbon emissions from transport.”

Local authorities wishing to bid for money from the Better Bus Areas fund will be asked to submit bids in February to allow the DfT to evaluate proposals before finally awarding funding by the end of March.

The move has been welcomed by operators. Simon Posner, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport said that the industry was keen to do more to encourage modal shift.

“We leap at any opportunity to help improve the services for our customers and warmly welcome this targeted and imaginative initiative,” he said.

“This is obviously a real opportunity to make a difference to local services and we look forward to working with our partners in local authorities in finding ways of using this money for the maximum benefit of our passengers.”

Arriva also welcomed the news. Mike Cooper, managing director of the group’s UK bus division, said that the group will be working with its local authority partners to help develop bid proposals “which will engage more people with their local bus services”.