Bus red tape

Government bus funding is tied up in red tape – says Metro Mayor Dan Norris – who wants to be able to use it in a more flexible way.

The West of England celebrated its bumper cash award of the “Bus Service Improvement Plan” cash last week, but the money is tangled in red tape.

Specifically, none of the £105 million can be spent on saving existing under threat bus services. The Government has said the money is solely for new routes rather than protecting bus services currently facing cuts.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris says: “I’m very proud that we secured £105 million. It’s the second-highest award in the country, which is a massive achievement especially when other places didn’t get a penny.

If everything was hunky-dory on the buses, ring-fencing that cash for new services might make sense. But everyone knows we’ve got serious bus problems with cuts and driver shortages. This Government diktat flies in the face of reality and good sense.

They should let us spend the money in the way that’s best for the West.”