Councils and bus operators in Greater Nottingham have joined forces to bid for £97m of Government funding to improve services for passengers.
Greener buses, reduced fares for younger people, and more contactless ticketing options are among a series of proposals that aim to make using the bus even easier.
The Bus Service Improvement Plan, submitted this week, builds on the existing partnerships with local bus operators, and has been produced jointly by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.
Councillor Rosemary Healy, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “Greater Nottingham already has one of the most popular public transport networks outside London, thanks to frequent, easy-to-use services connecting communities with key destinations.
“This funding would enable us to deliver further significant investment in bus services and infrastructure across the Greater Nottingham area, including building on our innovative work in providing greener buses that help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution.
“Bus services don’t stop at council boundaries, and we’re pleased to be working with Nottinghamshire County Council and our local bus operators to make services better for everyone.”
County Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee, said: “We’ve listened to what residents, partners and businesses have said about their experience of bus services in the city and county and would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation over summer.
“We received lots of suggestions for improvement and aspirations for future bus travel and these have helped shape the Greater Nottingham Plan along with a separate Bus Service Improvement plan for the rest of the county which includes rural areas and market towns where buses serve wider destinations and the population is more sparse.
“Both plans set out a bold ambition and by working together with local bus operators we hope to bring substantial investment into the city and county to help build a sustainable, efficient, and growing bus network with real tangible benefits for both residents and visitors alike.”
The plan sets out a number of ambitions for bus services in the area, in line with the new National Bus Strategy, that aim to improve the attractiveness, reliability and environmental impact of bus services.
Of the bid, £57 million will be invested in bus network infrastructure, and £40 million in electric and hydrogen buses.
Reflecting the travel zone covered by the Robin Hood Card, which supports trips across all bus and tram services, the Greater Nottingham plan includes:
- Delivering a ‘Superbus’ network of high frequency bus services throughout the day and during evenings and weekends
- Extending bus priority along key corridors
- Investing in new electric and hydrogen buses
- Improving bus stations, interchange and waiting facilities with high-spec smart and ‘green’ shelters installed in district centres
- Further roll-out of new digital displays providing real-time bus information
- Adding a youth fares discount for all 19-21 year olds
- Supporting a Jobseekers travel scheme
- Providing new contactless ticketing options to support new travel patterns and to make using the bus and fares simpler.
Both councils expect to hear whether they have been successful in receiving funding from the Government’s £1.2bn bus service improvement fund later this year.
David Astill, Managing Director at Nottingham City Transport (NCT), said: “Nottingham City Transport has a track record of delivering award winning bus services with some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the country, and we can also boast the largest fleet of bio-gas powered double deck buses in the world as we work towards helping our city achieve its CN28 aspirations. This has all been delivered through close working with our local authority partners, particularly Nottingham City Council.
“But there is still much more we can do as we recover from the shock of the pandemic and the impact that has had on people’s travel patterns. The BSIP for Greater Nottingham represents a marvellous opportunity to build on what has been achieved and ensure that Nottingham’s buses remain amongst the best.”