The Conservative Party promised to spend more than £4 billion on new bus and metro links across England. The Conservatives indicated the money, which would be available from 2022, would likely go towards projects such as a light rail system around West Yorkshire or an expansion of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink to Stockport and Bolton, but bidding opportunities would be opened to the eight combine authorities or mayoral regions for infrastructure projects. Announcing the policy, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: ‘These plans will change the face of local transport in towns and cities across the country. They will kick start the transformation of services so they match those in London, ensuring more frequent and better services, more electrification, modern buses and trains and contactless smart ticketing.’
Conversely, the Labour Party revealed £4 billion plans to electrify the country’s entire bus fleet and bring ‘services into the future’ as part of its Green Transformation Fund. Currently less than 700 buses are electric, most of which are in London. But Labour’s plans would see 35,000 buses made electric by 2030. There are further promises to provide free bus travel to under 25s, make fares affordable and give all councils the power and resources to regulate local services. Labour are pledging to invest £1.3 billion per year for a ‘Bus Transformation Fund’ to ‘reverse £645miliion per year of real terms cuts to bus funding and to invest the same amount again’. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn commented: ‘The Westminster bubble doesn't care about buses but cuts to bus routes leave so many people isolated, stuck at home and unable to make vital trips out. Away from London, many people have approached me in this election to talk about their local bus route closing down. This policy will bring our bus services into the future and help to revitalise our high streets and rebuild local communities.’
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