“Millions would find it difficult getting to hospital, school, work or shops without bus services, research shows.
As cuts continue to result in routes being axed across the country, 83% of people think it would be hard to get to shops and town centres if bus services were not available.
Around 75% said the same about work, and hospitals or GP surgeries.
David Brown, chief executive of bus operator Go-Ahead which was behind the survey, said: “Without buses, it would be a tiresome daily struggle for many people simply to get to work or school.
“It’s essential the nation puts in place a meaningful strategy to ensure services can prosper.
“A single bus can take as many as 75 cars off the road, with obvious benefits in terms of relieving congestion and pollution. It’s time for politicians to sit up and take notice.
Buses need to be given greater priority in road design if we want to achieve the Government’s broader policy goals in improving air quality, combating loneliness and regenerating local communities.”
The poll of 2,000 people revealed 63% think schools would be hard to get to without a bus.
The research also showed the role of buses is underestimated.
Over half of those quizzed believe less than 40% of public transport journeys are by bus – in fact it is about 67%.
A cross-party group of 23 MPs last week backed calls for a National Bus Strategy, a key demand of the Campaign for Better Transport.”
“… Routine road maintenance budgets have fallen from £1.1 billion in 2009/10 to around £701 million in 2017/18, the LGA said.
This budget is used to fund expenses such as minor road repairs, cleaning drains and fixing street lighting.
The LGA estimated that the reduction could have covered the cost of repairing 7.8 million potholes. …”
“The government has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds painting pointless white lines on busy roads and calling them cycle lanes, according to Britain’s cycling and walking commissioners.
In a letter to the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, the commissioners – including the Olympic champions Chris Boardman (Greater Manchester), Dame Sarah Storey (Sheffield City region) and Will Norman (London) – say painted cycle lanes are a “gesture” and do nothing to make people feel safer on a bike. Recent studies have shown they can actually make people less safe, they argue.
“As there are currently no national minimum safety standards for walking and cycling infrastructure, these practices can and will continue wasting public money and failing to persuade people to change their travel habits,” the letter says. …”
A picture is worth a thousand words. Words here:
Some of the pictures here:
“David Walker’s recollection of South Yorkshire’s publicly subsidised public transport system (Letters, 30 May) is only part of the story.
The aim of the cheap fares was to make the bus service totally free of fares by 1984 – a hop-on, hop-off service funded through a precept on the rates and savings made from not having to collect fares.
The South Yorkshire Freedom Riders are pressing the Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis, the Labour and Green parties, locally and nationally, to give serious consideration to a publicly owned and run universal basic service with a zero-fare expanded bus service. For most people it will mean a minimum of a £30 uplift in disposable income as well as removing cars from our roads and reducing levels of pollution.
Motorists are facing higher costs to force them into buses. Let’s give them a viable alternative. Let’s give everyone access to towns, villages, friends, the countryside and work. Let’s give them a free-to-use bus service as was intended by a visionary authority in 1974.
South Yorkshire Freedom Riders, Barnsley”
“… Nearly three out five journeys by public transport are on buses, but passengers are getting a poor deal say MPs as there are long-term funding plans for rail and roads, but not buses.
And the House of Commons’ Transport Committee is calling for a “national strategy” for buses to give passengers a better deal.
The strategy should make bus services more passenger focused and provide value for money, help to bring more people, especially young people, onboard.
The report says local authorities should be able to create new publicly-owned bus companies and encourage people to switch from cars to buses.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: ”The Tories have neglected buses, along with the people and communities who rely on them. …”
Owl says: When will politicians discover common sense?
“Ministers must set out a national strategy for buses and extend franchising powers to all local authorities to halt an alarming decline in usage, MPs have said.
A lack of clear policy and a funding squeeze have contributed to the loss of thousands of local buses, worsening congestion, air quality and access to jobs, according to the transport select committee.
The committee has called on the government to draw up a long-term plan by the end of 2020 to support a sector that provides the majority of public transport. It said it should set out clear funding commitments and targets for a “modal shift” to bring car drivers and passengers back on to buses.
Public subsidy accounts for more than 40% of income for buses. Despite the scale of investment, the committee said a “fairer deal for the bus user” was needed that would demonstrate value for money for taxpayers and farepayers and reflect passengers’ needs.
More than 3,000 bus routes in England have been axed or reduced since 2010, according to the Campaign for Better Transport, while Department for Transport figures have shown a recent decline in passenger numbers after years of growth.
The committee chair, Lilian Greenwood, said the decline in services had “direct consequences”, affecting journeys to work, education and social events. “It narrows our transport options and pushes us towards less environmentally friendly choices. And yet our inquiry found no real evidence that the government was determined to take action to stop this.”
Passengers’ groups told the committee that simple, accurate information on ticketing and fares and service timings would increase take-up. The committee called for more concessionary fares to encourage younger people to use buses.
The report questioned why reforms that opened the way for some cities to control bus services had not been extended universally. London was exempt from deregulation of buses in the 1980s, and now metro mayors have been given powers to re-establish regulation. The report said the government should make all operating models, including franchising and the ability to create new municipal bus companies, available to every local authority.
Campaigners welcomed the report. Pascale Robinson, of Better Buses for Greater Manchester, said: “Everywhere should be able to have a franchised system. One place where the policy is in place to get a London-style bus network is in Greater Manchester, and we’re urging Andy Burnham to take up this opportunity now to get buses that work for our communities, not bus company shareholders.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said it strongly supported the committee’s call for a national bus strategy to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle rural isolation.
A DfT spokeswoman said the government recognised “the importance of the bus industry in connecting local communities, reducing congestion and improving air quality”. She said funding for councils had increased by £1bn and passengers would have better access to real-time information on fares, routes and services.
Labour said the Conservatives had neglected buses, damaging communities. The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said: “Labour would end austerity for bus services, delivering the funding to reverse over 3,000 route cuts and invest in new services … and give all local authorities the power to bring services under public control.”
“Bus tickets need to be cheaper and easier to buy using contactless and smart phones to attract young people, according to the UK transport watchdog.
Despite being the biggest users of buses 16-18 year-olds are also the least satisfied, Transport Focus found.
The watchdog also recommended companies should install wi-fi and USB charging points on board, to encourage younger people to travel on buses.
Bus companies said they were investing in services young people expect.
Graham Vidler, chief executive of CPT UK, the trade association which represents bus and coach operators, said the industry recognised the importance of meeting the expectations of younger travellers. …
… Transport Focus gave the example of a flat fare of £2.20 for unlimited travel in and around Liverpool, which it said had led to a significant rise in the number of under 18-year-olds using buses. …”
“Plans to dual two key routes through the West Country remain on course despite reports in the national press that they may be scrapped.
Highways England, which is responsible for England’s motorways and major A-roads, has put forward schemes for a new tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge, the dualling of the A303 between Podimore and Sparkford, and the dualling of the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster.
National press reports on April 24 indicated that 11 schemes currently being considered by the body could be paused “indefinitely”, following concerns that they would not provide value for money. …”