Beat the Cold

Beat the Cold deliver an Energy Advice Service for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. This is a free, independent service for all private sector residents (home owners and private tenants) in the city.

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Ambitious bus improvement plan submitted to Government

Published: Monday, 1st November 2021

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has outlined its ambitious plan to improve bus services across the city.

The council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan has been submitted to central Government, and sets out how the authority aims to work in partnership with bus operators in the area to increase passenger numbers and improve reliability and journey times.

The Government has pledged £3 billion in funding across the country to improve bus services for passengers, and Stoke-on-Trent is aiming to secure a fair share.

The high-quality package of proposals put forward cover two phases, with the first phase seeking funding to enable bus operators First Potteries, Arriva and D&G Bus to continue operating their current levels of service once the Government’s emergency Covid-19 Bus Recovery Grant finishes in April 2022.

Depending on the final funding allocation, phase two could include:

  • Further funding to increase bus services, including more frequent buses, particularly in the evening and on Sundays;
  • Bus priority measures to help buses run on time, including a new traffic signal system that can give buses priority at junctions, and major infrastructure improvements with new roads and upgrades to existing routes;
  • Lower and simpler fares including the same age cap on young person fares across all operators and a multi-operator fare cap that guarantees a maximum daily fare regardless of the operator/services used;
  • Integrated bus-rail fares within the North Staffordshire area, which would support the ambition for increased frequency of local rail services;
  • Network identity and branding applied to all buses, to support the aim to make the multi-operator ticket the ‘default’ for bus users;
  • Journey information upgrades with improved information available prior to travel, at bus stops and on buses;
  • Excellent customer service with a joint Bus Passenger Charter to be agreed by the city council, bus operators and bus user groups;
  • Improved access and safety to include raised kerbs at more stops, CCTV on buses, and CCTV and improved lighting at key bus stops.

Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “This is the first step towards setting up a franchising scheme, and bringing local bus services into public control. We are committed to delivering better value and services for the thousands of people who use buses in the city every week, and making bus travel the most affordable and convenient way to get from A to B in Stoke-on-Trent. I’ve had residents tell me they can’t get a bus home from the city centre following a concert at the Victoria Hall, or a show at the Regent Theatre, because they don’t run late enough, so there’s all these type of things we need to look at and address.

“This is a big opportunity to reform bus travel in the city that would see passengers benefit from more frequent, more reliable and easier to use buses. The chance provided by Government to bid for extra funding would really accelerate our plans in this area. The total package value of what we are putting forward is around £70 million but it’s important to stress this isn’t a funding bid at this stage, it’s a high-level proposal for what we want to achieve in the city which the Department for Transport will now consider. Buses get people to work in places where they might otherwise not be able to travel to, they allow friends to meet up and support our town centres and businesses. Good public transport is absolutely vital to our growth aspirations and it’s encouraging to see that confidence in the city and our vision for its future is sky-high after we had three successful bids to the Levelling Up Fund, more than any other city in the country. Improving public transport is an essential part of these plans.”