Cheshire East bus image (1)

Cheshire East Council has drawn up what it says are “ambitious plans” to transform bus services across the borough.

It hopes the Cheshire East Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) will boost the number of people using buses, which has fallen 24% in the past decade.

sets out its proposals to work with local communities, public transport users and local bus operators.

It aims to boost services and develop “transformational change” across the network.

It aims to provide better quality, more reliable and more frequent buses, with simpler ticketing between routes and other public transport.

It will build on the council’s existing Flexilink service as well as its new “go-too” demand-responsive service.

The document has been submitted to the Department of Transport in a bid to secure funding through national strategy “Bus Back Better”.

Cllr Craig Browne, chair of Cheshire East Council’s highways and transport committee, said: “This is an ambitious plan and improving the speed, reliability and quality of public transport would help encourage more residents to choose the bus, make fewer car journeys and contribute to our carbon reduction commitments.”

The BSIP focuses on three phases:
● Phase one: Stabilisation of the bus network (2021-23) – improving reliability and punctuality, simplifying fares and improving integration of public transport;
● Phase two: Improving quality (2022-25 and beyond to 2030) – including more frequent services, better access and information and improved value for money; and
● Phase three: Network growth (2023-25 and beyond to 2030) – making bus use more attractive, such as via investment in bus/rail interchanges and multi-modal ticketing.

Cllr Laura Crane, chair of the members’ advisory panel on the BSIP, said: “The network in Cheshire East is facing a number of challenges due to a long-term structural decline in passengers – including a 24% fall in passenger journeys since 2011 – compounded by recent loss of custom during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Use of buses could take some time to recover, as passengers need to be confident that using bus services will provide the reliable, safe and cost-effective transport that they expect.

“We need a service that works for our residents – a more reliable, more user-friendly and greener service to ensure that bus travel does not become a thing of the past.”

The next key stage is preparation of a new statutory ‘enhanced partnership agreement’ with operators, which is due to be completed in April 2022.

One Comment

  1. Martin Bond says:

    It isn’t just about reducing our carbon footprint, but also for freeing our town of the noise, fumes and danger of the private car. Its funny how people who are so keen on cars try hard to avoid living on the roads where they operate.

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