14 January 2015
Campaign for Better Transport has welcomed the Department for Transport's (DfT) trial of a new approach to organising and financing local transport. Particularly targeted at rural areas, the DfT has invited local authorities to bid to take part in pilots of Total Transport.
Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said: "It's great news that local authorities will have the chance to take part in Total Transport pilots. In recent years bus users in particular have been hit hard by cuts in public spending, causing real hardship for many. Total Transport offers a better way of understanding the value that good public transport brings to a community.
"As our recent Buses in Crisis report set out, pooling the resources and expertise for local buses with other transport needs like bespoke transport for schools and hospitals should mean buses are better resourced and networks are more joined up. All communities would benefit from such an approach and we hope these pilots are the first stage in Total Transport being rolled out more widely."
1. On 14 January, the Department for Transport announced local authorities will be able to bid to take part in £4m Total Transport pilots. Bid are to be submitted by 11 February 2015.
2. Total Transport is based on the idea that public transport, walking and cycling are not ends in themselves, but contribute to a wide range of policy objectives. This includes goals such as physical activity rates, ability to access key services, promoting independent living for older people and those with disabilities, and helping people get to employment markets. Total Transport works by bringing together the funding and expertise behind diverse policy objectives, allowing local authorities to enhance the quality and scale of support they give to transport. This is particularly important for rural areas, which Campaign for Better Transport research has shown have been particularly hard-hit by cuts to local authority-supported bus services.
3. Campaign for Better Transport has identified major cuts to local authority supported bus services. Buses in Crisis 2010-2015 was published on 12 January and shows half of local authorities cutting support for buses during 2014/15 financial year. The introduction of Total Transport is a key measure identified in the report to improve bus services and help tackle the threat of further cuts.