Newcastle’s Go-Ahead welcomes £226m bus help

Newcastle-headquartered bus and rail giant Go-Ahead Group said on Wednesday it welcomes the announcement from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) outlining the extended funding of bus services in England that will be provided by the UK Government.

Go-Ahead employs around 30,000 people and is one of the UK’s largest bus operators, with a strong presence in London.

Outside London, it serves the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England.

“In its statement issued on 6 July, the DfT announced a further £226.4m funding package, taking effect from expiry of current arrangements in September 2021 until April 2022,” said Go-Ahead.

“This reflects the Government’s decision to provide a level of support to the bus network while customer numbers recover following the anticipated ending of COVID-19 restrictions later this month.

“Earlier this year the Government published the National Bus Strategy.

“The measures it contains to support more bus priority and local improvement plans will help ensure continued passenger growth, and the recovery of the market.”

Go-Ahead CEO David Brown said: “The support we have received from Government over the last 16 months has enabled us to continue to provide vital services to communities, including essential journeys during the various lockdowns.

“Passenger numbers are now around 65% of pre-COVID levels.

“We look forward to welcoming more customers on our services as restrictions end, helping support economic recovery, reducing emissions and revitalising our towns and cities.

“The National Bus Strategy provides a framework for bus journeys to become quicker, more reliable and convenient.

“We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities to develop our services and make it easier for people to choose the bus and leave their cars at home.”