A report outlining how the council and local bus companies can work together to improve bus services and increase bus use is to be discussed at cabinet (item 11, Thursday 12 January 2023).
It comes after the Department for Transport published a National Bus Strategy in March 2021 titled ‘Bus Back Better’, with the aim of getting bus usage back to pre-pandemic levels by making them an attractive alternative to cars.
The council’s bus service improvement plan (BSIP) has been in place since 31 October 2021 and the Department for Transport required an enhanced partnership plan (EPP) as soon as practically possible, with the council deciding to have it in place by 1 April 2023.
As most of Southend’s bus routes are cross-boundary, Southend-on-Sea City Council officers have been working with Essex County Council colleagues to ensure consistency in branding, ticketing, as well as a review of key routes.
Cllr Steven Wakefield, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As a new City Southend should be developing better public transport measures to ease the traffic pressure on our highways, and allow our residents to make a better choice for the environment, alongside cycling and walking.
“By having the EPP in place, Southend will also be able to bid for additional funding from the Department for Transport for minor and major highways schemes.”
This report includes details on how to carry out the actions included in Southend’s BSIP, which was adopted in October 2021. At the core of the strategy is an agreement between Southend-on-Sea City Council and local bus operators to work together to improve bus services.