£1m to help town buses run on time

Trevor Roberts, managing director of Blackpool Transport
Trevor Roberts, managing director of Blackpool Transport
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BLACKPOOL has secured more than £1m to speed up bus services in the town.

The cash from the Department of Transport’s Better Bus Fund will be used to make services more reliable by giving them priority at traffic lights.

A new town centre bus lane is also planned, and passenger waiting points will be upgraded.

The £1.07m allocated to Blackpool is among a number of grants from the Better Bus Fund announced by Government yesterday.

It will go towards installing number plate recognition at traffic lights for buses on routes seven, nine, 11 and 14, enabling lights to stay green for longer to allow buses through.

A south-bound bus lane on Central Drive, from the junction with Bank Hey Street, will mean buses can avoid the town centre one-way system

Other elements of the scheme include improving interchange hubs at Abingdon Street, Clifton Street, Market Street and Corporation Street by forming a pedestrian link to Talbot Square.

Four town centre bus shelters will be upgraded with better seating and information points, while the cash will also be used to promote bus services more widely.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for transport on Blackpool Council, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been successful with our bid to improve bus journeys around Blackpool.

“This funding will allow us to make changes that will enable our buses to run more efficiently, making sure they are more reliable and are less likely to get stuck in traffic congestion around the town centre.

“I congratulate everybody who has been a part of putting together such a good bid which will seriously benefit public transport.”

Managing director of Blackpool Transport Trevor Roberts said the changes would make a big difference.

He said: “The reliability of our services has been at 97 per cent in January and February, but last May it was 85 per cent, because the summer months are much busier.

“However what we want is reliability all year round and this will help us achieve that.

“It gives people confidence that when they go out to a bus stop the bus will turn up on time.

“Some of this money will also help us improve connectivity between the bus and tram services. We are looking at putting in some better access information so when people get off a tram at North Pier, they know where to go for which buses.

“So this announcement really is good news for the town.”

Town centre roadworks have been blamed in the past for making buses run late, with passengers claiming they could not rely on the service.

The council revealed its hopes of making improvements to public transport when it launched its latest transport policy last November.