Northumberland County Council commits £200,000 to regional bus partnership
Funding has been agreed to help provide improved bus services across Northumberland.
Cabinet members at Northumberland County Council have backed the creation of an Enhanced Bus Partnership (EBP) for the region.
The council will contribute £204,000 to Transport North East towards creating the partnership over the next nine months.
Councillors heard the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the public bus network.
Figures show that in 2020/21 there were almost 6.5million fewer passenger journeys in Northumberland compared to the previous year.
From July 1, all government funding streams for buses will only be available to local transport authority areas that have committed to entering an EBP with their bus operators.
Each of the seven local authorities that form the North East Joint Transport Committee have been asked to make a one-off financial contribution to support Transport North East in coordinating the work to create an EBP.
Local transport authorities must also develop and publish a Bus Services Improvement Plan by the end of October, setting out the outcomes they wish to see delivered through the EBP.
Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “The regional bus network is a vital component of our transport system and has a key role to play in our recovery from the pandemic, supporting both the decarbonising agenda and helping to rebuild our economy.
“This is a great opportunity to take more local control of our bus services and work more closely with our bus operators and our communities, many of whom live in rural areas and often rely on these services which connect towns and villages throughout the county.”