Hucknall councillor concerned over low rate of bus usage across Nottinghamshire since the pandemic

A Hucknall councillor has voiced his worries that bus usage across the county is not returning to numbers seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:12 pm

Passenger levels are rising but are only at 65 to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers, reports show, while concessionary use is recovering ‘more slowly’ at 55 to 60 per cent.

Councillors voiced concerns over the numbers during a transport and environment committee at Nottinghamshire County Council on November 17.

It comes as the authority is set to bid for Government funding to improve bus services in the area.

Councillors are concerned that bus usage is the county is not returning to pre-pandemic levels

It is estimated that £98 million is needed from the Government for the plans, with the authority matching it with £42 million in funding.

Coun John Willmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North at County Hall, said: “It is very concerning to us all.

"Many are saying they won’t use the buses because of the mask situation.

"It is a serious situation that needs to be addressed.

“Every day the amount of people still catching the Covid virus is unbelievable.

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“I welcome this bid which includes proposals to improve bus services, simplify fares and tickets, install more real-time displays and improve accessibility at bus stops.”

The council is set to put its Bus Service Improvement Plan to Government for funding towards services in Nottinghamshire.

Proposed improvements include more reliable services, ticketing options for young people and making buses more accessible.

There are also proposals for more bus lanes, improved bus shelters, CCTV cameras at bus stops, and marketing campaigns to encourage more bus use.

Coun Penny Gowland (Lab) said: “People who need these buses most are either going into transport poverty or being priced out of buses.

“Hopefully this investment might help to reverse some of that.

“It would be really helpful if the council could consider a windows and masks campaign because it is true, not many people are wearing masks on buses.

The committee unanimously approved plans to submit strategy documents to the Government.