Posts Tagged ‘Better deal for buses’

We need a better deal on the buses

20/06/2012, 01:39:07 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

Last week Amanda Ramsay won the “top of the policies” vote at Pragmatic Radicalism’s future of transport event, chaired by Maria Eagle MP, shadow transport secretary. The winning proposal was for a “Better Deal on the Buses”, to bring buses under a new regulatory framework.

Having worked in four UK cities: Bristol, Manchester, Plymouth and London; I have seen first-hand the huge differences in public transport available in different parts of the country. As a Bristol resident and campaigner, the contrast with London is nothing short of shameful.

Decent, affordable bus services are essential for any sense of social mobility and access to health care, jobs, leisure facilities, shops and family and friends, but too often are expensive and not efficient enough in terms of routes and regularity.

Bus route availability and costs in cities like Bristol and Glasgow could be overseen and controlled by the local authority and elected representatives, in a similar way Transport for London runs the capital’s bus system, where residents are well served across the whole city and pay just £1.35 a journey using Oyster, a pre-charged electronic swipe card. Prices are also capped.

In Bristol, it is often cheaper to get a taxi than to hop on a bus, for a family or group of friends. This is crazy, especially, for a city with bad air quality from high car usage with higher than average asthma rates, stemming from its basin-like geographical location. This is an environmental issue as well as a social policy imperative.

Looking forward to 2015, we need to demand a better deal on the buses; a better, cheaper, more efficient bus system that is all about social mobility and getting Britain working.


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