Focus of work
CPRE, the countryside charity’s report builds upon their previous research into rural ‘transport deserts’ to set out what a comprehensive bus network for England would look like, with services to every village every hour, and the scale of investment we need to make this vision a reality.
Based on examples of successful rural transport services across Europe, the report aims to show how we can have a bus system that is fit for the climate emergency and that will put an end to the inequality and social exclusion caused by the current car dominance of rural life.
CPRE’s groundbreaking modelling finds that the government could deliver a bus to every village, every hour across England from 6am to midnight, 7 days per week, for £2.7 billion annually.
Other key findings include:
- The inadequate statutory framework for ensuring the provision of bus services for every community, and the cuts to bus funding imposed by the government over the past decade, have left a serious lack of services to meet the needs of rural towns and villages. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic now means that emergency funding should be invested into rural bus services to stop the remaining network from collapsing completely.
- Examples from public transport systems across Switzerland, Austria and Germany show that it is possible to deliver a comprehensive bus network that offers excellent connectivity to rural communities.
- Rural communities in these countries enjoy a far more comprehensive bus network than England because decent public transport is regarded as a basic right, even in remote areas. In Switzerland, minimum service frequency standards for communities of different sizes are enshrined in law.
- An integrated approach to network planning, timetabling and ticketing is essential to making public transport in rural areas of England a practicable, convenient and attractive option for residents of rural areas. With regulated services, we can make public transport travel a convenient and competitive alternative to driving a private car, as is essential for tackling the climate emergency.
- There is a range of options the government could use to make a comprehensive bus network revenue neutral. By redirecting funding currently earmarked for road building, the government could release enough money to invest in a bus service for every village, every hour.