Gloucestershire County Council is proposing wide-ranging bus service improvements to benefit communities around the county following the award of more than £4.4million by the Department for Transport over two years.
The Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus (BSIP+) funding amounting to £2,209,623 has been allocated to improve bus services in the county during 2023/24 and an anticipated further £2,209,623 will be given for 2024/25.
A report was put to the county council’s cabinet on Wednesday 20 September and the recommendation to try to secure contracts for 25 specific improvements was approved.
The proposal includes an expansion of The Robin to three additional rural areas. The on-demand rural minibus service currently operates in the north Cotswolds and Forest of Dean, but it would be expanded to three more rural areas in Tewkesbury, Stroud and the south Cotswolds.
The funding means some services which were withdrawn last year by Stagecoach could be reinstated, if operators come forward to run the routes.
BSIP+ funding is aimed at boosting the numbers of people travelling by bus, which have fallen since the Covid pandemic.
The funding provides the opportunity to run additional services at weekends and later in the evenings, in response to feedback from bus users.
Among the proposed bus service improvements are:
- Service 72, Chepstow to Lydney – service to be extended from Lydney to Mitcheldean via Soudley, Ruspidge and Cinderford
- Service 8, Kingsway to Coopers Edge via Gloucester – two later journeys each way on Friday and Saturday evenings; Sunday/Public Holiday service to continue until at least 11pm
- Service 41, Cheltenham to Tewkesbury and Ashchurch Station – two late journeys each way, Friday and Saturday evenings; Sunday/Public Holiday service to continue until at least 11pm
- Routes 62,63, Gloucester to Stroud – two later departures each way, Monday to Saturday
- Service 801, Cheltenham to Moreton in Marsh via Bourton in the Water – extended to an hourly daytime service Mondays to Saturdays and a two-hourly Sunday/Public Holiday service
Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member with responsibility for buses, said: “I’m delighted the Department for Transport has supported bus service growth in Gloucestershire with this funding allocation. This funding will help us to secure the bus transport network and provide many new and expanded services which I’m sure will prove very popular with residents.
“We are committed to improving and supporting the many bus services we have in the county. Buses help connect our communities and are a green and sustainable way to travel that will help us meet our carbon emission targets. This award is a very significant step in helping us to achieve those goals.”
For more information and to see a list of the new services being proposed, you can read the full cabinet report here.