Cash boost for rural transport services

Rye Bus ENGSUS00120130129172716
Rye Bus ENGSUS00120130129172716

East Sussex County Council has successfully bid for a share of a £7.6m government fund aimed at improving transport in rural areas.

The council was awarded £100,000. as part of the Total Transport Pilot Fund.

This is about improving access to the services people most rely on

Some £2 billion is currently provided each year by a number of agencies for local transport funding.

But the government says this funding is often not co-ordinated or integrated at a local level, resulting in duplication and potential waste of public money.

The Total Transport Pilot Fund competition was launched on 14 Januarythis year.

The funding would provide the essential first step for local authorities to implement service integration.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “As someone from a rural area, I know the vital importance of well-functioning public transport in helping people get around their local community.”

The £7.6m in funding would help local authorities work with schools, hospitals and other local organisations to deliver local services more efficiently, added Mr Alexander.

“They will be able offer people across the country better transport services while saving the taxpayer money.”

The project will fund a range of feasibility studies and other groundwork as well as a number of pilot projects to test the real-world scope for service integration in individual areas.

Pilots will run for a maximum of two years, during which time project teams will be encouraged to share what they learn with each other.

At the end of the two years, each scheme will submit a detailed report on the results of delivering integration to the Department for Transport.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Good transport is the lifeblood of local communities and we must ensure every penny spent is being used effectively.

“This is about improving access to the services people rely on most, from getting to school, to the shops or the local hospital.”