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Give city regions funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s

Last updated 2 years ago

We will give city regions the funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s, with more frequent, better-integrated services, more electrification, modern buses and trains and smart ticketing – such as the vision proposed by Andy Street for the West Midlands.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.27

Our verdict

  • This is a commitment to allocate funding to “city regions” to enable their public transport services to reach the same standard as London’s.
  • In the March 2020 Budget, the government confirmed investment of £1 billion for shortlisted cities, and plans for a further “£4.2 billion…for eight Mayoral Combined Authorities”. The November 2020 Spending Review added a £300 million investment to “drive transformation of bus services”, and in March 2021 the National Bus Strategy was published, promising a £3 billion investment to improve bus networks.  The March 2021 Budget announced “capacity funding” for seven city regions as a first step to implementing the promised intra-city transport settlements. Against these developments, in January 2021, the government slashed funding for Transport for the North, a key body in delivering city region transport improvements, and regional inequalities in transport investment persist.
  • The public transport impact of COVID-19 has been severe, leading to the launch of a Transport Committee inquiry, and even prior to that the London model itself had been beset with financial difficulties. The advances towards disbursal of intra-city transport settlements, and the new National Bus Strategy, demonstrate a degree of commitment to fulfilling this policy, although that is tempered by cuts to the Transport for the North budget and ongoing inequalities in transport investment.  For now, this policy remains ‘in progress’.

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.


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