Cheaper fares and reliable services pledge to bus passengers in updated public transport plans

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More frequent services, affordable fares and better-maintained bus shelters are among the pledges in Blackpool's latest blueprint for its bus services.

The goals are set out in the revised Bus Service Improvement Plan published by the council for 2024, which is required in order to secure government funding. Last year Blackpool received around £1m from the Department for Transport, with spending spread out over two years.

The plan aims to improve bus travelThe plan aims to improve bus travel
The plan aims to improve bus travel | n/a

Plans are aimed at encouraging more people to use buses, with the latest figures showing passenger numbers in Blackpool were up by three per cent in 2023/24 compared to the previous year to 6.5 million in total. The vast majority (6.1 million) used Blackpool Transport services.

Proposals set out in the latest plan include -

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Improve bus frequencies so main routes provide six buses an hour. The number of passengers has been seen to rise on services with improved frequency and reliability.

Enhanced network in areas where there are gaps such as links between Mereside and Grange Park, and the employment site of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Creating bus lanes and bus priority areas to improve reliability and deliver faster journeys.

Plans for bus lanes to be created after 2025 include -

The Promenade - Lytham Road to Chapel Street (northbound); Bispham Road and Salmesbury Avenue to Warbreck Hill Road (southbound); Talbot Road and Cecil Street to Devonshire Road (eastbound), and Talbot Road and Mather Street to Devonshire Road (westbound).

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Vehicle detection and traffic control measures could also be used to give buses priority in other areas including Promenade between Lytham Road to Talbot Square; approaches to Plymouth Road Roundabout, Devonshire Square, Talbot Road and the Starr Gate junction; Warbreck Hill approach to Devonshire Road and on Caunce Street/Grosvenor Street.

More affordable fares particularly aimed at young people, such as reduced prices for under 22s and discounted evening and weekend fares such as £1 after 7pm and £1 all day Sunday.

Improved bus stops with a roll-out programme to bring all 250 shelters up to a high-quality standard with free-standing seats and up-to-date timetable information showing buses serving the stop by every operator.

A QR code rollout would ensure passengers at bus stops can download real-time information where screens are not available.

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Improve accessibility and security for people with disabilities such as impaired vision using new smart technologies.

All bus operators will have to provide Next Stop Audio-Visual information on all buses used on public bus routes by October 2026.

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