Major improvements to the island’s bus services look likely to be put on hold after the Isle of Wight council missed out on government funding.
As part of a multi-billion pound ‘Bus Back Better’ scheme, local authorities had been asked to partner with bus operators in a bid to improve services outside of London and encourage more people to use public transport.
Through a £100,000 Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), Isle of Wight Council and Southern Vectis came up with ideas that would improve public transport provision, including more routes and a longer hours.
Southern Vectis had created a 116-point wish list of things it would like to do to improve service on the island. The most significant improvements included the creation of dedicated bus lanes or specific routes around the island, including around the Coppins Bridge and a Fairlee bus transit route, on the old railway line to avoid congestion on Fairlee Road.
The BSIP also included smaller plans such as installing electronic timetables and more lighting at bus stops.
Now, it has been announced that the partnership was unsuccessful in its funding bid.
Speaking to the Isle of Wight Council’s Neighborhoods and Regeneration Review Committee last week, Councilor Phil Jordan, Cabinet Member for Transport, said the aspirations of the partnership would now change as lack of funding would impact what can be advanced.
After the meeting, however, Cllr Jordan said the partnership was still committed to BSIP and the partnership with Southern Vectis, but how the aspirations are realized remains to be seen. He said small things like improving bus shelters were always part of the aspiration.
Further work has not been ruled out entirely, however, as the council is drafting its final Local Transport Plan (PLT) which would be the authority’s main transport policy between 2023 and 2038. One of the elements included in the PLT would be the carbon net of the board. -goal zero – this includes moving people out of cars and onto public transport.
Cllr Jordan said to encourage that although the island needs good public transport, it could mean improvements such as the way buses are fueled.
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