Wiltshire council chiefs say they are ‘extremely disappointed’ they have missed out on government money to improve bus services in the county. The government has revealed that 31 of the 79 authorities that have submitted Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) have received part of its £7billion funding – but Wiltshire Council was not included.
Wiltshire Council’s BSIP, submitted last November, was produced in partnership with bus operators. It was designed to support the county’s economy by improving access to businesses and helping vulnerable and elderly residents access essential services, while reducing carbon emissions.
Councilor Mark McClelland, a cabinet member responsible for transport at Tory-controlled Wiltshire Council, said: “We are extremely disappointed that, alongside more than half of the other local authorities who have submitted a bid, we have missed out. This funding.Council officers worked hard to produce a comprehensive and ambitious plan to support and improve bus services in Wiltshire – services which are vital in a rural county such as ours.
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“Had we been successful, this funding would have enabled us to reduce rates and invest in new services for our most vulnerable residents and attract new users, but we will not be able to make these investments at this time for the people of Wiltshire and visitors to our county Bus services are always a priority for us and having well-connected communities is a key part of our business plan.
“We know that buses help reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and lower carbon emissions, as well as save people money, especially as bus prices rise. gasoline continue to rise. However, we will now need to regroup and rethink our approach as we seek bus and transport services in Wiltshire in the future.”