Michael Dugher, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, visited Stockton today to set out Labour's plans to put power over bus services back in the hands of passengers.
Bus fares have rocketed up 25% since 2010, while routes have been cut, leaving communities isolated. In the North East there were 7 million fewer miles of bus services last year compared to 2010.
Bus company operating costs have remained static since 2010, but fares have gone up five times faster than wages, hitting families who rely on public transport.
Labour wants to put communities and passengers in control of local bus services. We will give Teesside greater control to determine bus routes, set fares and integrate bus services with other forms of public transport. Local communities will be able to save crucial bus routes, especially in rural areas where people are seeing their bus routes cut or removed.
Louise Baldock, Labour’s candidate for Stockton South said:
Buses are one of the top issues raised with me when I’m out on the doorstep. We have seen passengers stranded and isolated through the withdrawal of bus services – Kirklevington, Thornaby, Stockton, Ingleby Barwick, Eaglescliffe, Hilton, nowhere has been unaffected.
I recently met a pensioner whose husband was in North Tees hospital for a few months. It cost her £3500 in taxi fares to visit him, because there is no service in her village.
I have also met workers who lost their jobs because they could not reach factories in Urlay Nook early enough in the morning, and passengers for whom it takes 40 minutes to travel on a circuitous route from Ingleby Barwick to a town that’s really only 10 minutes away.
Providing a better bus service is one of my key pledges for Stockton South. I will be pushing for this to measure to be introduced as early as possible in a new parliament.”
Michael Dugher, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary said:
Local bus services are a lifeline for our communities, in cities, towns and rural areas. Bus routes are being slashed, while bus company revenues have increased and this Government says everything is fine.
The way local bus services are provided is not fit for purpose, Labour will stand up for passengers, helping communities get the local bus services they need."