Exciting new announcement: the North of England and the Midlands are getting £150 million of new funding for local bus services next year! This is enough to support up to 25 million miles of new bus services. For the North East Transport Authority this means an extra £11.2 million for 2024/5.
This is the first years tranche of £1 billion over five years redirected HS2 funding for to improve bus services across every part of the North and Midlands.
The remaining £35 billion of the £36 billion saved from HS2 is being allocated at the moment to more long term funding for road (including the long-awaited A1 upgrade), rail (including Ferryhill Station in Co. Durham), and huge extra funding for local mayors - including a TRIPLING of the funding for the North East’s new mayor to £1.6 billion over 5 years - for projects in our region.
It’s great to see funds which would have gone miles away to connect Central Manchester via HS2 in 2041 instead benefitting us right here, right now. The most exciting part of this announcement is that there is much more to come still.
This comes in addition to the record £163.5 million for the North East’s Buses funding over three years - delivering projects like the new under-21 £1 scheme.
This is all on top of the extension of my nationwide #GetAroundforTwoPound fare cap which is now in place until the end of 2024!
It is up to local transport authorities to decide how to spend this extra funding for the North East so get in touch with me or your local Councillors if you have any ideas. It will be more than enough to see a real difference in our local services.
Right now, I know a lot of people are deeply concerned about the ongoing Go North East strikes. I think a sensible agreement should be within the reach of both sides. I have been told a 10% rise is now on the table plus other changes - on top of the 10% rise last year. I hope that both sides can come to an amicable agreement and look to the future.
As your local MP and Minister for Roads and Local Transport I’ve constantly campaigned for more funding for the bus network and local transport. I’m ensuring that the sector and passengers are being backed - I hope the operators and unions can now find a way forward round the negotiating table so we can see a sector many rely on really improve.