Bus lanes bedlam: After cycling chaos, now Boris Johnson finds £3bn to keep motorists off the roads
Hundreds of miles of bus lanes will be built to discourage driving, Boris Johnson will announce today.
In a major transport shake-up, he will also unveil simpler fares with daily price caps for multiple journeys.
Councils and operators will be told to work to increase the frequency of services so passengers can ‘turn up and go’. More buses will be put on in the evenings and at weekends and all will accept contactless payments.
Hundreds of miles of bus lanes will be built to discourage driving, Boris Johnson will announce today
A £3billion investment will help fund 4,000 UK-built electric or hydrogen vehicles to provide clean, quiet and zero-emission travel. There will also be a consultation on an end-date to the sale of new diesel buses.
The strategy, which reverses much of Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 deregulation, risks angering motorists, who could face longer journeys. And it comes hard on the heels of the High Court ruling that hundreds of road schemes brought in during the pandemic could be scrapped.
A judge said London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s guidance on the measures – such as pop-up cycle lanes – was ‘unlawful’ and ‘irrational’.
Critics say the measures blocked emergency vehicles and brought gridlock.
In a major transport shake-up, he will also unveil simpler fares with daily price caps for multiple journeys
But Mr Johnson said last night: ‘Buses are lifelines and liberators, connecting people to jobs they couldn’t otherwise take, driving pensioners and young people to see their friends, sustaining town centres and protecting the environment.
‘As we build back from the pandemic, better buses will be one of our first acts of levelling-up. Just as they did in London, our reforms will make buses the transport of choice, reducing the number of car journeys and improving quality of life for millions.’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: ‘Buses are this country’s favourite way of getting around. They help us get to school, to the GP, or to the shops – but services across England are patchy, and it’s frankly not good enough. The quality of bus service you receive shouldn’t be dependent on where you live.’
The Campaign to Protect Rural England warned that half of rural towns in the South West and North East were ‘transport deserts’. Policy director Tom Fyans said: ‘A one-off investment of £3billion is really just an expensive sticking plaster after a decade of cuts to rural bus services.’
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