Bus Service Improvement Plan sets out future of bus travel in Torbay

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(Last Updated On: November 6, 2021)

Torbay Council has released its vision which sets out the priorities for the future of bus services in Torbay.

Over the next five years the council, together with local transport partners and neighbouring authorities plan to make bus services more attractive, cheaper, easier to use, faster, more reliable, and greener.

In April, Torbay Council’s cabinet agreed to form an Enhanced Bus Partnership with local operators and work with stakeholders to collectively deliver increased passenger numbers through better services in Torbay led by the National Bus Strategy.

The plan which has been submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) to secure an initial £24.78m of funding over three years to support the ambitions for the future of bus travel in Torbay.

To ensure Torbay’s bus network is fit for the future and supports wider regeneration plans, the plan concentrates on five priority areas; buses to serve the wider community, buses to link with facilities, lower fares, accessibility and decarbonisation.

The proposals include reducing fares, reinstatement and expansion of the night service, offering better connectivity beyond the core routes, safer access to stops on residential routes and making the fleet greener and cleaner.

The changes are not only critical from an environmental point of view and include charging infrastructure to support conversation of the fleet to electric and in initial tranche of at least 15 electric buses. But are vital to ensure the service meets the needs of the community in terms of employment, tourism and getting people home, to work, education or to areas outside of Torbay for leisure purposes, with buses provided into the evenings and at weekends across the towns.

Cllr Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said; “The aim of the Bus Improvement Plan is to improve accessibility for everyone across Torbay. From improving connectivity to facilities whether that is education, health, or employment, to ensuring the vulnerable in our communities are not excluded from that connectivity. We want a bus service that supports our towns, employment and helps to move journeys away from the private car to contribute to reductions in Torbay’s carbon footprint.

“We are hopeful that our proposals are fully supported by Government to help Torbay to level up its transport network.”

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Tourism and Culture for Torbay Council, said; “Through a strengthened relationship with the community and across our partnerships, we want to better work with Torbay’s communities to provide bus services in the right places, at the right times. We’ll also be looking at ways that will make travel by bus better value to encourage more people to consider switching some of their car journeys.

“Transport is the largest single contributor to carbon emissions in Torbay, as a council we therefore have a responsibility and an opportunity through the Bus Improvement Plan to support change. We can achieve this together without community by providing the affordable, high quality, and reliable services that are needed.”

The funding is to be allocated from the Government’s commitment to bus with an outcome expected this winter.
The Bus Improvement Plan is available on the council’s website: https://www.torbay.gov.uk/bus-network-improvements

Torbay Council will be engaging with the community as well as stakeholders and operators when the funding allocation is known to prioritise the changes. The ambitions may need to be adjusted subject to the funding agreement.

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