National Bus Strategy: England

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Transport 5:15 pm, 15th March 2021

My hon. Friend is right to point out that, particularly in rural areas such as East Devon and in many other parts of the country, the social value of a route is often missed by the current formulas. That is one reason why, with this bus strategy, we have launched a £20 million fund to develop rural services that work better. A lot of that is about making sure that, to have that certainty, the service is more regular and is funded, even at times when it requires public support to be funded. There are other innovative ideas, including, for example, having buses available on demand. People are used to using an app to call a taxi. Why should they not be able to do that to have a bus route go via them in order to get to where they want to go? There are many very innovative ideas, which will be very applicable in rural areas as well.