New rail and bus funding for the South Downs National Park

THE South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and West Sussex County Council are among six authorities which have been given a £2m boost to fund bus and rail travel in the New Forest and South Downs national parks.

The money comes from the department for transport’s local sustainable transport fund (LSTF) for projects which encourage and promote use of sustainable travel in the parks.

The funding aims to reduce the number of car trips in both national parks by inspiring visitors to travel to and around the area using sustainable transport options.

Trevor Beattie, chief executive of the South Downs National 
Park Authority (SDNPA), said: “We want to improve the experiences and expectations of people using public and sustainable transport in and around the South Downs National Park.

“Over the past year this has included launching a new hop-on-hop-off Discovery bus ticket, training bus drivers to help visitors find their way round and supporting community rail partnerships to encourage people to take more ownership of their railway stations.

“This extra year of funding will allow us and our partners to build on these successes.”

Mr Beattie said the additional funding for 2015/16 would enable a series of innovative new initiatives to be carried out such as the ‘share the road’ and ‘take the train’ campaigns, integrated ticketing and WiFi on rural bus services.

At the same time, he said, the extra funding ensured the commercial sustainability of already highly-popular travel attractions like the ‘breeze up to the Downs’ buses in the 
South Downs.