Gloucestershire Conservatives have warmly welcomed a £642,000 boost for bus services in the county, announced by Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps in Westminster today.
The money forms part of £30m in extra bus funding announced nationally. The funds will augment the £3m that the Conservative-run County Council already spends on bus services in the county and help to protect and expand existing bus services.
The announcement also covered £50m for a trial programme to deliver “Britain’s first all-electric bus town or city” and £20m for “demand responsive services in rural and suburban areas” – essentially buses on demand. The electric bus trial is expected to focus on an urban area with a self-contained bus network, which is thought to exclude towns in the county, but councillors are optimistic the pilot will test technology that could in future be used in Gloucestershire. The County Council is expected to bid to take part in the demand responsive trial.
Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Nigel Moor, welcomed the news:
“£640,000 is a fantastic boost for bus services in our county – and shows this government really understands what we’ve been saying about how important buses are. I’m also excited about the electric bus trial. This scheme is going to pioneer the technology all councils need to transition away from diesel, and lays the foundations for carbon neutral travel.”