As the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I understand the concerns surrounding the upcoming fare increase on Diamond Buses in Worcestershire. It is disheartening to witness these adjustments, but it is crucial to recognise that they stem from the escalating operational costs faced by the company.
Nonetheless, I want to assure you that we are actively engaged in securing and enhancing the future of our public transportation services. One significant step in this direction is the establishment of a new statutory Enhanced Partnership, which will pave the way for collaborative efforts between the council and bus operators to improve the overall service quality.
Moreover, I am delighted to share that the government has recently approved funding for our Bus Service Improvement Plan. We have been allocated an initial sum of £1.4 million to kickstart this endeavor. This investment highlights our unwavering dedication to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our bus services, ensuring that they meet the evolving needs of our community.
Furthermore, we are embracing technological advancements to make transportation more accessible and convenient. The introduction of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) allows passengers to request a bus using a smartphone app, similar to popular modern taxi services like Uber. This innovative approach will provide greater flexibility and convenience, particularly in areas with lower demand.
In conclusion, while the fare increase is regrettable, it is a necessary step to account for the rising operational expenses faced by Diamond Buses. However, our focus remains steadfast on implementing measures that enhance our transportation services. The establishment of the Enhanced Partnership, coupled with the government’s funding for our Bus Service Improvement Plan, demonstrates our commitment to delivering improved quality and efficiency in our bus services for the benefit of our community. Additionally, the integration of Demand Responsive Transport showcases our readiness to embrace technology and explore innovative solutions. Together, these initiatives form the foundation for a better and more accessible public transportation system in Worcestershire.