Local MP Kemi Badenoch has welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of a revolutionary new bus strategy, backed by £3 billion of investment and the £20 million Rural Mobility Fund that will see passengers across Saffron Walden constituency benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, and cheaper bus services.
As part of the new strategy, Essex County Council will publish an improvement plan while working in partnership with bus operators to improve services for passengers in order to be eligible for funding in future.
Councils and operators will be now be expected to provide simpler single bus fares with daily price caps, more services in the evenings and at the weekends with integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes in the area and all buses will be able to accept contactless payments.
Essex County Council will work in collaboration with operators or franchises for the benefit of passengers by meeting targets for improving passenger numbers, reliability and passenger satisfaction in order to be eligible for future government funding.
It has also been announced that Essex County Council will receive a total of nearly £1.5 million as part of the nationwide £20 million Rural Mobility Fund, designed to trial on demand responsive transport in rural and suburban settings like those surrounding Saffron Walden and Chelmsford - such as mini buses booked via an app – where a traditional bus service isn’t appropriate. Specific funding allocations by the council are yet to be publicised.
As many areas of the constituency are rural and rely on road travel, this new funding is expected to make a significant positive impact on the lives of constituents by boosting their local transport links as the country builds back better and greener from the pandemic.
Commenting, Mrs Badenoch said:
“As an MP for a largely rural constituency, it is vital that residents who do not have a car or other mode of transport have access to reliable public travel links.
“This new National Bus Strategy, backed by £3 billion along with over £1.5 million allocated to Essex County Council as part of the Rural Mobility Fund, will pave the way for simpler fares, more reliable services, and better connections that will benefit my constituents.
“I will be writing to Essex County Council to ask how the funding will be allocated and benefit residents across Uttlesford and the villages I represent outside of Chelmsford.”