Responding to the CPT’s proposals, Urban Transport Group Director, Jonathan Bray said: ”We have worked closely with government and bus operators to keep bus services running during the pandemic and will continue to do so. However we do not believe that the current emergency arrangements for closing the revenue gap created by Covid-19 for public transport in our areas are efficient or robust given that they rely on local transport authorities continuing to pay for concessionary trips that aren’t being made, as well as being based on a patchwork of multiple poorly coordinated funding streams. Instead the bus strategy offers the opportunity to simplify and streamline funding arrangements for an industry that is now reliant on public funding.
“The best way to do this is devolve funding for bus to city region transport authorities so that public transport services as a whole can be planned and delivered in a coordinated way that best meets the distinctive needs of each area during the pandemic whilst ensuring best value for money for the taxpayer. This would also provide a sound basis for an orderly transition to either enhanced partnerships or franchising, depending on local circumstances and ambitions. In this way public transport can support city region economies as they build back better from this crisis whilst ensuring that there is local accountability for this key public service which, as the pandemic has underlined, so many of our poorest communities are reliant on.”