ONE of the organisers of Bridgwater's new bus campaign group has welcomed news that the government is to spend £5 billion on bus and cycle routes, but said it is 'nowhere near enough'.

Following Bridgwater Town Council's Transport Forum meeting earlier this month, it was agreed to launch Bus It!, a campaign to encourage increased bus use and to encourage bus companies to provide more services.

It seems the announcement of the group was timely, as this week, in the wake of agreeing HS2, government ministers pledged an additional £5bn on bus and cycle routes.

Downing Street officials claimed local transport could have a 'truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure across the country', and said the investment package in bus transport of £5bn over five years would result in more frequent services, including on Sundays, a simpler fare structure, and new priority schemes to allow buses to skirt traffic jams.

Glen Burrows, chairman of the Bridgwater Transport Forum has been a key figure in setting up Bridgwater's Bus It! campaign.

She said: "I am pleased to see the government recognising the need to encourage sustainable transport by giving £5 billion, over 5 years, to support bus services and cycle routes.

"However, this is nowhere near enough to reverse the decline in bus services and use in the last 35 years of bus service deregulation and cuts to local council spending.

"When Margaret Thatcher's government deregulated bus services in 1985, they said it was in order to encourage a competitive climate and improve bus services.

"The opposite has happened, with buses becoming more expensive, unreliable and infrequent - apart from in London, where Transport for London still provides a local-authority-regulated service."

Bus It! wants to work constructively with bus companies to persuade them to provide useful services, and encourage local residents to leave their cars at home and support buses.

Priorities for the group include bringing a bus link in between Bridgwater Rail Station and the town centre, as well as a late night bus service from Bridgwater to Taunton.

Bus It! is looking for local people to contribute their ideas and will hold its first public meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at 4pm in Bridgwater Town Hall.