West’s metro mayor hails bus investment ‘a big win’

Metro Mayor Dan Norris

The West of England Combined Authority, led by metro mayor Dan Norris and partnered with North Somerset Council, has been awarded £105 million to improve bus services across the region.

Dan expressed delight at the “big win” which will see 10 per cent of whole of the country’s bus budget spent in the West of England and is the second highest funding award in England.

The funding means in the future the combined authority is looking to introduce changes to help buses get through traffic so they run more reliably, improve the frequency of buses on well-used routes, and develop community transport to meet the needs of more rural communities.

The metro mayor, who is responsible for regional transport, said: “I’m delighted for the people of the West of England. This is another vote of confidence in our amazing region.

“The money will build on the half a billion we have already secured since last May. It sounds like a lot of money – and it is. Sadly this isn’t cash I am allowed to spend to save individual bus routes.

“What we can do is make sure buses don’t get stuck in so many traffic jams with measures to speed them through congestion, improve the quality of buses, and make it easier and more convenient to buy a ticket.

“This is a good day for the West of England and a step on the road to give local people the public transport services they need and deserve. But this can only be the start. We need to lever in even more resources if we really want to get as many people as possible out of cars and into public transport which is key to meeting our ambitious net zero targets.”

Leader of North Somerset Council, Cllr Don Davies said: “Securing this funding for North Somerset and the West of England is essential for our shared ambitions to make public transport a natural choice for everyone and achieve our carbon reduction goals.

“We will now work together to develop a public transport solution to rival that of any city region, further enhancing the West of England as a greener and thriving place to live, work and visit.”

Reading and West Berkshire have also benefitted from the handout. Reading will receive £26.3 million while West Berkshire gets £2.6 million.