£7.6m funding for local transport

The government has today announced the winning bids for the Total Transport Pilot Fund that will allow local authorities in England to try new and better ways of delivering joined-up local transport in rural and isolated areas.

The top three authorities which received the highest funding include Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority, Surrey County Council and Devon County Council.

Around £2 billion is currently provided each year by a number of agencies for local transport funding. However, this is often not co-ordinated or integrated at a local level, resulting in duplication and potential waste of public money. Today’s announcement will see £7.6 million Department for Transport funding dedicated to 37 schemes, providing stable funding from one source to improve transport services in local areas.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, ‘Good transport is the lifeblood of local communities and we must ensure every penny spent is being used effectively. This is about improving access to the services people rely on most, from getting to school, to the shops or the local hospital. It is part of our long term economic plan to improve the lives of hard working people up and down the country.’

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said, ‘As someone from a rural area, I know the vital importance of well-functioning public transport in helping people get around their local community, whether to do business, go to school or meet friends and family.

‘That’s why I’m delighted that we’ve been able to provide £7.6 million to ensure that people living in rural and isolated communities will be able to benefit from integrated public transport, meaning that local authorities will work with schools, hospitals and other local organisations to deliver local services more efficiently, meaning that they will be able offer people across the country better transport services while saving the taxpayer money.’

The Total Transport Pilot Fund competition was launched on 14 January 2015 and 42 bids were received from local authorities in England. The funding will provide the essential first step for local authorities to implement service integration. The project will fund a range of feasibility studies and other groundwork as well as a number of pilot projects to test the real-world scope for service integration in individual areas. The pilots will run for a maximum of two years. While they are running project teams will be encouraged to share what they learn with each other, and at the end of the two years each scheme will submit a detailed report on the results of delivering integration to the Department for Transport.