Tag Archives: buses

Helen Morgan tables bill on improving rural bus services

Buses are the cinderella of transport. We hear a lot about trains, the inconvenience of delays, strikes and buckled rails. But we don’t hear much about buses. Yet there were more than four billion local bus passenger journeys in England in the year ending March 2020 before the pandemic. Numbers inevitably declined during the pandemic and have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels, especially among concessionary pass passengers.

Many rural areas do not have a local train service. Rural buses are literally a lifeline. But unlike services in some cities, rural buses have been in steep decline.

On Wednesday, Helen Morgan MP for North Shropshire, presented a bill to parliament with the aim of ensuring people living in market towns can access hospitals, GPs and other services by public transport every day of the week.

 

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Another “Alston Report” – why some of you may not be using buses any more…

It is just over two years ago that a Liberal Democrat Peer, made the following intervention;

My Lords, the reality on the ground is that rural bus services have been in decline for some years now, to the extent that there are many quite large villages which no longer have any kind of bus service at all. Have the Government made any assessment of the impact this is having on residents’ ability to access essential public services such as health and education?

As it turned out, the Government rather hadn’t. But now, Philip Alston, along with colleagues Rebecca Riddell and Bassam Khawaja, has published “Public Transport, Private Profit – the Human Cost of Privatizing Buses in the United Kingdom”. And, as someone who lives in a village which lost its last scheduled bus service a decade or so ago, you might not be surprised that I took rather more interest than might otherwise be the case.

But, of course, it’s not just small, rural villages that are now cut off from the bus network. As the authors note, some 3.34 million people could not reach any food stores within fifteen minutes by public transport. That adds costs for the rural poor, adds traffic to the roads and leads to those who can’t drive for whatever reason to be forced towards larger communities in order to function more easily.

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Lib Dem led Sutton Council trials On Demand bus service

ALDC flagged a story this week here, telling us about how Lib Dem-led Sutton Council has decided to trial an On Demand bus service.

Users will be able to use an app to request a bus to stop for them. The benefits are not just for the user – getting more people out of cars and onto buses and public transport reduces congestion and will improve air quality. Sutton Council is working with Transport for London on this trial, with more info on that partnership here.

Lack of bus services, and cuts to bus services, concern many communities up and down the country. Well done to Lib Dem Cllr Manuel Abellan and the team for leading by example. We’ll be keen to know how it all works out!

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Sal Brinton receives apology from Transport for London after being denied access to bus

You would think, by now, that bus drivers would not be so crass as to refuse to ask someone with a buggy to make way for someone in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Party President Sal Brinton found out on Monday.

She later spoke to the Evening Standard about this:

Transport for London has apologised to Baroness Brinton and launched an investigation.

She told the Standard: “The bus was fairly empty, but regardless – if the wheelchair goes in first you can fit both a buggy and a wheelchair in the space… In fact, that’s exactly what happened when I boarded another bus afterwards.

“I couldn’t see the parent, and the driver did not put down the ramp and said they were not prepared to ask the parent to make space so it made it impossible for me and so I had to wait.”

She added: “It made me very angry, and even more so because this is not the first time this has happened… When this happened to me two years ago, I spoke to TfL and they said they would make sure bus companies trained drivers so that this would be avoided. Clearly that was not the case.”

Well done to Sal for highlighting her experience.  She’s previously written about the frankly appalling way she and others have been treated on the railways.

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On Sadiq Khan’s Hopper bus ticket: an idea you may have heard of before

One hour bus ticket 2009So, Sadiq Khan has made his first big transport announcement, one hour Hopper bus ticket.

Now, even though I live 400 miles away, I know fine that this is not be an original idea from the new London Mayor. Someone has been campaigning for this since 2009. Who could that possibly be?

Step forward Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. The photo was taken in 2009 in tandem with this article in the Standard and the policy was in the 2012 Lib Dem London manifesto.

Boris blithely dismissed it in the same way Cameron dismissed the raising of the tax threshold policy, saying it was too complicated and costly.

His successor saw the sense in it and used Caroline’s idea in his manifesto. 

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Opinion: On The Buses? Not anymore

One of my first memories of my childhood was catching the number 119 bus from the corner of Efford Way, where I lived. It would take us into Lymington High Street, passing through Howards Mead, Bays Road and other roads that made up Pennington Village.

I never thought of how important that bus service was to those elderly, young and infirm people perched on the edge of their seats around me. It was only as I grew older that I began to appreciate the bus service more. Whenever I needed to quickly nip into Lymington, it was there. There was never any thought of funding or the possibility that the service might not be run on Saturday (market day).

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