BUS BACK BETTER - WHAT IS IT AND WHO IS INVOLVED?
In February 2020, the Prime Minister announced that bus services across the country would be transformed with simpler fares, thousands of new buses, improved routes and higher frequencies. A national strategy sets out the vision and opportunity to deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered. Alongside the strategy, the Government has launched a consultation on when to end the sale of new diesel buses to drive forward the decarbonisation of public transport.
The Department for Transport is also awarding English local authorities funding for 17 successful proposals under therural mobility fund to trial on-demand bus services in their areas.
In March 2021, the Government unveiled a new Bus Strategy called Bus Back Better. This represents the greatest shake-up of the UK bus industry for decades, and the best opportunity to make big improvements to local bus services in recent memory. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bus-back-better
Wiltshire Council's Bus Services Improvement Plan page can be found at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/transport/bus-service-improvement-plan where you can also download the 47 page Bus Service Improvement Plan as a PDF.
News items can be found at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news
Option 24/7 is a county wide bus user group. It was formed in 2016 to work for better bus services for passengers, operators and local government.
Option 24/7 is working together with Wiltshire Council on a Bus Service Improvement Plan which could bring in millions of pounds worth of Government funding to help make big improvements to local bus services a reality.
As of November 2021 Option 24/7 has already held two Bus Service Improvement Plan meetings with Wiltshire Council, and reached an agreement that would see Option 24/7 act as a "bridge" between Wiltshire Council and current or potential bus users in the community areas that Wiltshire bus routes serve.
The Enhanced Partnership Plan (EPP) phase of the Bus Back Better process has now begun and will run through to March 2022.
Unlike the previous Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) phase which mainly considered high-level outline themes, the EPP phase will be all about consulting on, discussing, and agreeing the real nitty-gritty detail of bus service provision.
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO MARLBOROUGH?
Marlborough Town Council's Planning Committee provides a direct link with Wiltshire Council. The Town Council is consulted at key stages of strategy development. Your Town and Wiltshire Councillors for Marlborough will also always represent the views of their community as best they can.
In addition to these more formal routes, Marlborough Town Council has agreed to act as a point of contact between Option 24/7 and our community, creating a communication point at regular intervals to capture and share views and suggestions.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
From time to time Option 24/7 may ask bus users (or potential users) for thoughts, suggestions and feedback. This could include what current or potential bus users in our community areas want to see from their bus services; views on how closely that matches the proposed services, and to try to ensure that the bus network that emerges is one that works best for everyone going forward.
Option 24/7 is asking current and potential bus users to begin to consider the proposed bus services, and the kind of bus service provision that you want to see put in place going forward. There are a series of questions outlined in this survey to stimulate your thoughts and ideas. If you have a view on one, some or all, please take the time to share it.
Any data you enter WILL be shared with Option 24/7 and via that group perhaps also to Wiltshire Council. Any data you provide will be anonymised: no contact data, not even your name, will be shared unless you choose to write it in one of your responses.
If you'd like to know more, receive update emails from Option 24/7 or get involved directly please click here for details: http://option247.uk/contact.html
This survey closes on 10 December 2021