Cheap reliable and frequent rural bus services – not just a pipe-dream

28th March 2021

Boris Johnson’s announcement of £3bn for the national bus strategy sounded pretty impressive when announced two weeks ago. But CPRE’s new report shows that the national bus strategy is woefully unambitious and will continue to deliver ‘wholly inadequate’ bus services, especially in rural areas.

The report, Every village, every hour, outlines how the government could reach its own ambition of delivering radically improved bus services across the country by investing £2.7 billion a year. This is five times more than the prime minister and transport secretary pledged last week when launching new funding of £3bn over five years in the national bus strategy.

Rural communities desperately need ‘cheap, reliable and fast’ bus journeys to be provided through continuous, year on year funding. And CPRE’s modelling shows that, with the right investment, the government can deliver a world-leading bus network capable of matching Swiss standards where every village of two to three hundred people is guaranteed at least an hourly bus service from 6am to midnight, 7 days a week.

One way of achieving this would be to redirect just a portion of the funding for the government’s legally embattled and widely criticised £27 billion road building schemes to instead properly fund buses. This could provide more than enough money to pay for CPRE’s vision, with enough left over to make fares free across these services.

How do you feel about your local bus service provision? Add your voice to thousands of others to tell the government to provide a reliable bus service for every community by signing our petition.

Report: Every village, every hour

Chris Odonovan | CPRE