Hertfordshire bus and cycle routes set to benefit from £5bn government pledge
PUBLISHED: 17:21 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:21 13 February 2020
Hertfordshire's bus services and cycle routes will benefit from a new £5 billion funding pot announced in parliament on Tuesday.
The funding package comes as Boris Johnson promises to "to level up" bus and cycle infrastructure outside of London, adding that "local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play".
Among the details set out by the prime minsiter are new priority bus routes, a simpler, streamlined ticketing system, and the purchase of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses.
Hertfordshire can also expect to benefit from the pledge to create 250 miles of new cycle routes and safer junctions across the country.
Further details will be laid out in the upcoming National Bus Strategy, due to be published later this year.
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Herts County Council leader David Williams - who is also chair of the County Councils Network - said the new funding was "critical" in supporting local growth and businesses, while also helping to "tackle congestion and climate change".
Councillor Williams added: "It is imperative that access to this funding is open to all areas and is distributed fairly. Local authorities in shire counties have witnessed a 46 per cent reduction in funding for bus services since 2009/10 - compared to 19 per cent in city mayoral combined authority areas.
"Our county towns suffer from less frequent and more expensive services compared to major cities. The National Bus Strategy must ensure transport authorities are given the powers, freedoms and flexibility to overhaul, integrate and improve local services."
Herts County Council is planning to invest an extra £8m in their existing bus network as part of their 2020/21 budget - set to be approved at a meeting of the full council on February 25.
In Hertfordshire, buses account for just three per cent of journeys to work - which is less than half the national average.
Last Friday, county councillors also approved plans for a new £1m collaboration scheme - the Intalink Enhanced Partnership - which will see bus companies and local authorities working more closely to improve the quality of its bus networks.
An IEP is thought to be more efficient in addressing issues such as congestion hotspots and co-ordinating infrastructure improvement.