Buses get £150m boost from cancelled HS2 leg

Image by Christian Mackie on Unsplash

Bus services across the North and Midlands are to get a £150m boost due to scrapping of the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2, the government has announced. 

The funding is the first allocation of £1bn of investment into bus services as part of the Network North plan - with further funding allocations to be announced in due course.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the northern leg of the high-speed rail project would not go ahead earlier this month, saying the government would now invest £36bn in other transport projects across the country.

While it is up to local authorities in partnership with operators to decide how best to use the funding, the new funding for next year is enough to support up to 25 million miles of new bus services across the North and Midlands.

It will help local authorities provide more regular and reliable services or cheaper fares delivered through fare initiatives and ticket price caps.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Today’s announcement marks the start of the Network North plan coming into action.

“We’re backing buses with one of the biggest ever support packages and keeping bus fares down to ensure the country’s favourite means of transport is more affordable for millions of people.”

The redirected HS2 funding aims to give extra support to bus services to become more frequent more reliable, cheaper and easier to use. 

The government has also announced that its Get Around For £2 bus fare cap scheme will also be extended again to continue to help people save money. 

The cap had been due to rise to £2.50 but will instead remain at £2 and continue until December 31, 2024 thanks to the redirected HS2 funding behind the new Network North plan. 

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, which is why we are continuing to back our buses with record high levels of funding – supporting vital bus services and offering affordable travel for passengers.

“This increase in funding to deliver more reliable, frequent and affordable local bus services – and to extend the £2 bus fare cap – has only been possible with the redirected HS2 funding secured by this government making the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”

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