The UK government’s investment in the Bus Centre of Excellence will help boost skills across the bus industry and support the delivery of more frequent, affordable and sustainable bus services.
A new initiative to upskill, recruit and retain a new generation of bus professionals, alongside support to help the UK’s bus sector get stronger, has been announced by the Roads Minister, Richard Holden.
Backed by £815,000 in government investment, the new Bus Centre of Excellence will bring together expertise from local government, bus operators and industry to boost skills and diversity in the bus sector.
As pledged in the UK government’s National Bus Strategy, the new Bus Centre of Excellence will give life to a new generation of bus professionals to drive forward more reliable, affordable and cleaner bus services. Hosted by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), it will provide training opportunities, direct access to resources and industry experts, as well as networking events to uplift the capacity and capability of the whole sector, working to encourage people to get back on the bus.
The Bus Centre of Excellence’s ambitions will complement the continued decarbonisation of the national bus fleet, improving the whole passenger experience. This announcement comes as the UK government confirms £3 million for 18 brand new zero-emission buses in Leicester. The new buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by First Bus, supporting hundreds of high-skilled jobs and helping to grow the economy.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “This multimillion investment for Leicester’s clean transformation, coupled with the new Bus Centre of Excellence, will help drive the country’s bus sector recovery and provide passengers with cleaner, more affordable buses that run on time. Zero-emission buses are often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators, and are more reliable, reducing repair costs and minimising delays.”
Neil Johnstone, President of CIHT, said: “CIHT has a proven track record of delivering high quality, continuing professional development for those working in the transportation sector. We are delighted to be the chosen partner to help work on improving this important sustainable transport mode. This partnership (alongside other government initiatives) will see CIHT help to bring together a wide range of professional skills and knowledge from both the public and private sector to facilitate change to local infrastructure, service delivery and the sector across the country – with the ultimate aim of improving bus services.”
The new Bus Centre of Excellence initiative follows the £155 million announced in February 2023 to continue supporting bus services up and down the country and providing affordable journeys by extending the £2 bus fare cap.
This brings the total government funding to protect buses at over £2 billion since the pandemic, with a further £1 billion invested to improve the quality of bus services through the Bus Service Improvement Plans.