Residents across Swindon and Wiltshire are set to benefit from lower fares, improved reliability and better buses after a combined investment of more than £2.5 million.

The Bus Service Improvement Plan will allocate £11.8 million in total to improve bus services in ten local authorities across the south west in 2024-2025.

The funding follows the first £165 million that was invested into buses in the region for 2022 through to 2025.

Local councils in the South West that will be benefitting, as well as Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council, are: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council; Cornwall Council (including Isles of Scilly); Devon County Council; Dorset Council; Gloucestershire County Council; Plymouth City Council; Somerset Council; and Torbay Council.

Gloucestershire County Council will be receiving the biggest investment of £2,209,623, whilst Torbay Council will receive the least, with £403,923.

Swindon Borough Council will receive £415,830 and Wiltshire Council will receive £2,115,269.

“We are delivering for local communities across ten local authorities to improve and protect essential local services, as we continue to boost transport connections in the South West to grow the economy,” said Roads Minister Richard Holden, who announced the investment.

“Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and so many residents in the South West rely on their local service to get to work, attend medical appointments, and see loved ones,” he explained.

It is up to individual councils how exactly this money is spent to improve each individual bus service.

But government officials have said they hope the money can be used to introduce new services, enhance existing ones, and protect essential services with low passenger numbers that could be at risk.

To help people with cost of living pressures, the government also invested £200 million to extend the bus fare cap, with single bus tickets capped at £2 outside London until the end of October 2023 and then at £2.50 until 30 November 2024.  

So far, this cap has been particularly effective in rural areas of Wiltshire where buses are crucial for so many people to get around.

“We’re pleased the £2 bus fare cap we campaigned for has been a success, reducing fares and boosting passenger numbers,” said Silviya Barrett, from Campaign for Better Transport.

“The additional funds for local authorities announced today are also welcome and we hope that this is just the start of ongoing investment in bus networks across the country.”

Swindon's Cabinet Member for Transport has been approached for comment, but is yet to respond.