Buses are the life blood of our communities
The Tories’ 13 years in power have seen bus services across the country suffer. In Northumberland alone it has been calculated that over 3 million miles of bus journeys have been lost since 2016 in a sustained decline. In a betrayal of the government’s ‘levelling up promises’ almost one in ten of Britain’s rural bus services were axed last year.
The people of Hexham Constituency, in a large, rural county, know how difficult it is to use public transport. The lack of buses, their unreliability and poor integration with other forms of transport means that many of us rely on cars. In a climate emergency this is unsustainable. We need better public transport. Better buses would also mean greater opportunities for the young to access education and employment as well as easier access to healthcare and social activities for those without cars.
Buses are the lifeblood of local communities – indispensable for connecting people to jobs, opportunities, education, public services and friends and family. And they disproportionately serve the more deprived in our society; half of the poorest fifth of families do not own a car.
In the teeth of a cost-of-living and climate crisis, any sensible government would be doing everything within its power to encourage people onto public transport and ensure buses are affordable, accessible and reliable.
Our own County Councillor for Prudhoe North, Angie Scott, has echoed this:
Buses are a lifeline for our communities in both town and country in Northumberland. The young and old alike need buses to access education, health care, vital services and a fulfilling social life. We need buses to fight climate change and traffic pollution too.
The decline in our local bus services over the last 13 years of Conservative government has left many isolated and unable to access the opportunities they need to succeed.
Labour is promising to overhaul failing bus services within months of coming to power. At the moment the deregulated bus companies are more or less a law unto themselves, leaving councils and politicians with little ability to influence fares, routes or quality of service. Labour’s plans would offer all local areas the chance to franchise bus services and give them the power to set routes and fares and remove poor providers.