THE government has "finally recognised" the importance of bus and cycle services with a promised £5 billion investment - it has been claimed.

Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, was responding to Boris Johnson’s announcement today of £5 billion investment in bus services and cycle links outside London.

She said the money could help pay for cleaner buses, and develop cycling schemes to create 'mini-Hollands' throughout Yorkshire.

The Prime Minister today said the five-year, £5 billion funding package will provide more frequent services and simpler, more affordable fares.

It will also allow for new priority bus routes and the purchase of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses in England and Wales.

£31m transport scheme could see people summon buses via mobile phone app

Cllr Groves said: “Each year people in West Yorkshire use buses to make approaching 150 million journeys each year, making them by far the most used and most important form of public transport so I am pleased to see the government finally recognising their importance.

“This money will build upon the work we are already doing through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance to improve bus travel by investing in infrastructure to make services more punctual and reliable, introducing new, cleaner buses and retrofitting existing ones, and making buses more affordable and easier to use, particularly for young people.

“I have long been calling for a national bus strategy and look forward seeing details from the government on how it proposes to help us ensure bus services can support all our local communities, underpin sustainable growth and achieve our targets for combating climate change.

“New direct funding, in addition to our ambitious Future Mobility Zone and Transforming Cities Fund bids, which we can use to invest in new cycle routes and 'mini-Holland' schemes and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans to make town centres safer for people travelling by bike or on foot will enable us to build upon our hugely successful CityConnect programme.

“Through City Connect we have already delivered 67km of new and improved cycling and walking routes, including our flagship 23km Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway and being able to build on this work without having to go through a bureaucratic bidding process will help us make the progress required to meet our commitment to becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest.

“Todays announcement is a welcome start, but we need to see a government commitment to significant and sustained, long-term investment that will level up the years of under-investment that have frustrated the ambitions and potential of city regions across the north.”