Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has announced that up to £4 million is being made available to pilot new and better ways of delivering joined-up local transport in rural and isolated areas.
The Department for Transport fund aims to promote a better coordination and utilisation of all available transport services in local communities.
Around £2 billion of public funding for transport services is currently provided each year by a number of agencies. However, this funding is often not co-ordinated or integrated at a local level, resulting in duplication and potential waste of public funding. The pilot funding will allow local authorities to show how transport resources can be used more efficiently by bringing organisations together, improving vital transport services in local areas.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “It is common sense that we ensure that those rural and isolated areas have vital transport services that meet the needs of local communities. We must ensure every penny is being used to get local people to hospitals, schools, towns and shops. That is why we are allocating £4m funding to help identify and coordinate all the available transport resources open to the local community, maximising their use and delivering better transport services and wider benefits to local people.”
The funding will provide the essential first step for local authorities to implement service integration. The pilots will fund the costs of feasibility studies and other groundwork to identify scope for service integration in individual areas. Successful bidders will then submit a detailed plan for delivering that integration to the Department for Transport. Bidding is open to county councils, integrated transport authorities and unitary and combined authorities. The fund is exclusively for rural and isolated urban areas and the closing date for bids is 11 February 2015. The winners will be announced in March.