Bus passengers in Sheffield are to benefit from improved services and better information as the city becomes the first to adopt a pioneering new funding initiative, Local Transport Minister Norman Baker announced today (26 February 2013).
Last year the government announced that it would reform the way it funds the bus market by devolving funding from operators to local authorities.
Sheffield has become the first area to take advantage of the new funding system which will enable the local authority to tackle problems with bus infrastructure and traffic management.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said:
An effective bus network is an essential part of a vibrant economy.
Passengers want a fast, effective bus service and I am pleased Sheffield will become the first area to receive devolved funding under our new Better Bus Area initiative, which changes the traditional method of funding bus travel in a way designed to drive up performance and passenger numbers.
Under the new agreement, direct bus subsidy to operators in Sheffield will gradually be devolved to the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and topped up with nearly £1.6 million a year from government - enabling the city to address problems with bus infrastructure and improve traffic management.
Today the government has also issued guidance for local transport authorities wishing to follow Sheffield’s example. Local transport authorities wishing to bid for money from the Better Bus Area fund will be asked to submit bids by 21 June.
Notes to editors
Within Better Bus Areas, Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) for services run commercially will gradually be devolved to local authorities and this grant will be supplemented by a top up fund worth 20% of the commercial BSOG. This money will enable local transport authorities to tackle the problems holding back the local bus market.
Better Bus Area designations will be made on 1 October 2013.
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Photograph courtesy of Sheffield City Council