A bus lane in Greater Manchester on East Lancs Road in April 2016. While this region is one of the areas to see success from its BSIP bid, many are receiving nothing, and have reacted angrily to the government’s statement that plans ‘lacking ambition’ will not receive funding.

Aregular source of frustration over my years writing about the bus industry has been the short-sightedness of policies relating to buses, in the rare event that the industry is noticed by politicians in the first place. All too often, it seems anything put out to make change must deliver something prior to the next general election. The result is a long history of missed opportunities, inefficient spending and lack of substance.

The recent Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) saga is another example, where the need to have something to show off in the next general election campaign season has taken precedence over taking care to implement the policy properly. Absurdly short deadlines for BSIPs were put in place with no regard to the difficulties local authorities and operators were facing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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