Extra cash should boost buses - The Evesham Observer

Extra cash should boost buses

Evesham Editorial 21st Feb, 2020   0

UNDER-FIRE bus companies have been urged to drive up their punctuality and reliability after Worcestershire’s highways chief took the wraps off the highest-ever increase in the cash given out by County Hall.

Coun Alan Amos revealed the increase of more than 10 per cent at a meeting last Thursday (February 13) and the £200,000 cash injection will be added from savings made elsewhere in the county’s overall £30million transport budget.

The increase comes days after a £500,000 cash boost for the council from the Government in a bid to get more people on the buses.

Speaking to the Observer, Coun Amos revealed the additional cash almost doubled the council’s handout to bus companies in Evesham and Pershore and said he would now unleash the ‘imaginative and bold’ Passenger Transport Strategy drawn up last year.

And in an apparent boost to areas such as the Vale which has seen bus services decimated in recent years, the county’s highways chief admitted he would look to use the cash to plug the gaps.

“The money will not only continue to support existing subsidized services but will also look to expand the network by adding new services where there are gaps or where no routes have so far been viable,” Coun Amos said.

“We’ll look at all options and all forms of transport, particularly Community Transport, to meet the public’s demand for various types of service.

“I am strongly committed to a high quality bus service. Buses are the main alternative to car travel and we want to get more people out of their cars and on to buses.

“Most bus services in the county are run on a commercial basis but the County Council subsidies a great many of them which would otherwise not run because they don’t make a profit,” Coun Amos added.

While calling on operators to deliver punctual and reliable buses, Coun Amos also urged commuters to play their part too by actually using the bus to ensure that services continue.

In addition to the cash boost, Coun Amos also revealed county chiefs would participate in a new Government scheme to launch the first all-electric bus town.

“We have already received an interest from Redditch. In addition, the county is talking to our local bus operators about new ideas to tap into the extra £220million the Government has made available to improve bus services,” he added.


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