Green Party calls for transport re-think as report shows vulnerable are worst hit by bus cuts

The Green Party has called on the Coalition to re-think its transport policy following yesterday’s report on bus services, which shows that cuts are disproportionately effecting the most vulnerable.

The report from the Transport Committee, entitled ‘Bus Services after the Spending Review’, reveals that local authority cuts to transport budgets have seen the young, old and disabled hit hardest. The cross party committee also criticised the lack of consultation undertaken before 70% of councils reduced subsidised services or raised fares.

Alan Francis, Green Party transport spokesperson, said, “The Select Committee report should be a wake-up call to government and councils that are cutting the funding for local bus services. Vulnerable people, especially the young, the old, the disabled and the poor, will be the hardest hit by the withdrawal of bus services.

“These people depend on bus services in order to access jobs, shops, education and health care, and are precisely the people that the government should be looking out for, rather than making their lives more difficult.”

“The report shows that the Coalition is failing to fulfil its pledge to provide better value for money in public transport, with prices set to rise above the rate of inflation, and further loss of services expected.”

Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party added, “Welsh public transport is under-developed and cannot cope with the needs of a future sustainable Wales.   Investing in public transport will have the effect of strengthening communities, promoting a greater appreciation of place, reducing crime, improving the health of the population and reducing traffic fatalities.

“Britain is the only major country in Europe that does not have a properly integrated, subsidised public transport system.  And we, our communities and our businesses suffer as a result.

“The lack of a proper mass transport system in our towns and cities forces people to rely on personal transport – cars.  Traffic on our roads is approaching unsustainable levels, leading to delays and jams, all of which increases costs and pollution.

“Investing in more and better public transport will protect families against rising fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions.”

In announcing changes to local bus timetables earlier this year, Kevin Hart, General Manager of First Cymru said, “We regret the need to withdraw services, however we can only run buses where there are sufficient passenger numbers to make them commercially viable.”

Keith Ross continued, “Mr Hart’s statement confirms what we have always known.  Private companies cannot provide the full range of services that local people need.  As businesses, their primary motivation has to be profit, which is incompatible with providing a service to vulnerable people on low incomes and those living in isolated communities.”

“Greatly increased investment in public transport is required to ensure accessibility to all, irrespective of age, wealth or disability.”

Notes:

Transport Committee Report, ‘Bus Services after the Spending Review’:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmtran/750/75002.htm

 

 

 

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Angharad Griffiths on August 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Why do First Cymru use passenger numbers as the excuse for everything? Increasing passenger numbers isn’t a priority for them it seems, for example the service I use daily has been altered to run on the dual carriageway between Resolven and Glynneath. This means that it it’s impossible to pick up extra passengers on a part of the route and it has cut elderly people off from their surgery and it doesn’t even save the driver any time! Maybe if they had useable routes they would be able to make more money! It is First Cymru to blame for the services not being profitable not their customers, the sooner Mr Hart realises this the better or they will lose even more customers.

    Reply

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