Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

LET’S GET ON BOARD TO BUILD THE NORTH’S BUSES BACK BETTER!

17 Nov 2020 by JOHN GELSON - Next Stop Communications

Bus firm Transdev kick-starts an important discussion on the North’s post pandemic transport future with a blueprint to boost buses and revive communities

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We can build buses back better – and we need you on board!

North of England bus operator Transdev is inviting its customers, business and political leaders to have their say in steering its journey beyond the pandemic with the launch of its own plan for growth in 2021 and beyond.

To kick-start a new debate on the future of the North’s transport, the bus firm has produced “Build Buses Back Better”, a 28-page road map for buses at the heart of a post-pandemic revival in the region’s urban and rural communities.

Its blueprint for action is being mailed direct to over 200 key decision makers and business leaders across the region served by Transdev’s bus operators, from central Lancashire to the Yorkshire Coast.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “2020 has been the year of COVID-19, which has produced unprecedented challenges for all bus operators. I’m proud to say we continue to battle through, thanks to the support of our amazing customers and colleagues. But as we approach 2021 with a real prospect of an end to the current restrictions, it’s time to turn our eyes to the future and the opportunities ahead.

“The Prime Minister’s New Deal sets out to ‘Build Back Better’, and we want to build buses back better too, using our track record of success in the North and Transdev’s worldwide expertise in buses, trams and light rail – but nationally there’s an inconsistent picture, with pockets of growth and limited investment to cut pollution and congestion.

“As a pioneer in our industry using new technology to provide low and zero emission buses, we believe 2021 can be a year of unique opportunities for the bus. Now is the time to start a conversation on how we make the most of it.”

Transdev’s ‘Build Buses Back Better’ plan sets out its priorities for action in 2021 and beyond, to help buses make sure the North’s cities and towns enjoy the benefits of improved economic and social well-being. Its suggestions include:

  • Free flowing – more priority bus measures to make the bus the most reliable option for urban travel, integrated with the active travel modes of cycling, scooters, walking and new ‘at stop’ park & ride facilities.
  • Going green – Transdev’s electric buses in Harrogate helped to create the UK’s first Low Emissions Bus Town, with Government support. The bus firm calls for more zero and low emission zones, with controls on polluting private car use
  • Working together – Transdev highlights the 36 - its fast-growing Ripon and Harrogate to Leeds service, its VAMOOZ demand-driven buses serving local schools and large employers, and its three-way partnership with West Yorkshire’s Metro and Leeds Bradford Airport to build and grow its recently-launched Flyer bus network. Transdev says all three show how fully commercial bus routes and those delivered by partnerships can attract more people to choose the bus.
  • Driving up standards – Transdev advocates a national minimum customer service standard for bus services, giving customers guarantees on what to expect and driving up standards across the country. It also says national bus driver training schemes should refocus on the customer – while Government grant aid to bus firms should incentivise firms who attract more customers.

Transdev says if just one per cent of car journeys switch to bus travel after the pandemic, bus journeys would rise by 19 per cent.