Friday 31 March 2017 / 11:21 AM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

For too long the bus industry has put profit before passengers. Labour will change that – Jeremy Corbyn

Labour
will overturn the Government’s ban on council-owned bus companies as part of a
wider strategy to put the public back into buses and deliver affordable,
greener, and accessible transport.

Labour
unveiled its bus strategy to put people not private profit first after figures
revealed that passenger journeys in England outside London have declined by 39
percent and by 53 per cent in English cities since 1986. But over the same
period in London, which kept regulation of bus services, passenger journeys
increased by 99 per cent.

Labour’s
policy includes a commitment to low emissions vehicles, Wi-Fi enabled buses,
improved joint and through ticketing schemes, mandatory disability and equality
training, and a commitment to introduce a national strategy for local bus
services, setting out objectives, targets and funding provisions, including
considering concessionary fares for 16-19 year olds.

Jeremy
Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party
, said:

“Labour
will create the freedom for councils to run first class bus services which the
public are proud of. The Tory legacy brought rising fares, plummeting passenger
numbers and too many areas where pensioners have a bus pass but no bus.

“Labour
wants to see local communities empowered to determine their own priorities and
reverse the decline in bus services. Labour will extend franchising powers to
all areas that want them and will overturn the ban on new community bus
companies, allowing Local Authorities to replicate the successes of the
country’s best performing operators.

“For
too long the bus industry has put profit before passengers. Labour will change
that.”

Andy
McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary
, said:

“Buses
are by far the most important mode of public transport, connecting communities,
places of education and businesses like no other.

“In
supporting local economies, combatting climate change, addressing air quality
and tackling social exclusion, the importance of buses cannot be over-stated.
Yet funding for buses across England and Wales has been cut by 33 per cent
since 2010 and thousands of routes have been downgraded or cut altogether,
meaning passengers across the country have to put up with sub-standard
services.

“We
want to see clean, hi-tech fleets of buses running accessible and reliable
services that meet passengers’ needs. For this to happen, we need to give
communities the power to reform bus services to make them work for passengers,
as well as ensuring the funding and strategy is in place to ensure no
communities are left behind.”

Labour’s
policy would:

•                       
Create freedom for local authorities to form their own bus companies by
removing the Government’s ban.

•                       
Extend the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them
– not just to combined authorities with an elected mayor.

•                       
Require all new buses to meet the low-emission requirements set out by the
Government-sponsored Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

•                       
Require new vehicles to be equipped with Wi-Fi, and install Wi-Fi on existing
buses.

•                       
Introduce a national strategy for local bus services, setting out objectives,
targets and funding provisions. This would include consideration of a reduced
fare scheme for young people aged 16-19.

•                       
Require all bus drivers and staff at bus terminals to complete approved
disability equality and awareness training, including mental and physical
disabilities, by a specific date.

•                       
Ensure bus services in England make adjustments for any disabled passenger on
the bus including policies for priority wheelchair spaces. 

Labour
leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald are in Tees
Valley today (Friday) promoting Labour’s bus policy.