Dr Cooper supports improved bus services for communities with Labour
Dr Cooper supports improved bus services for communities with Labour's Better Bus Pledge

LABOUR’s shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh MP, has set out the party’s plans for a better bus network across England, promising to allow every community across the country to take back control of local bus services.

Labour’s plan could create and save up to 1,300 vital bus routes and allow 250 million more passenger journeys per year compared to today’s failed system. It will also bring an end to the postcode lottery of bus services by providing safeguards over local networks across the country.

In the South East, this new plan could mean significant improvements to local bus networks, with 236 bus routes potentially being saved or created across the region by putting that ownership back into the hands of local communities.

Dr Beccy Cooper, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Worthing West, said:

“Our local bus services are a lifeline for so many members of our community, particularly those who are socially isolated, on low incomes or disabled – but these services need a rapid overhaul. Bus services need to be regular, reliable and affordable – under the Conservatives too many routes have disappeared. Taking back control of our bus services means local leaders will be able to work on delivering better buses and faster.”

Since buses were deregulated in 1985, bus services in England’s regions outside London have collapsed, with:

  • 1.5 billion fewer annual bus journeys in 2019 than in 1985

  • Almost 300 million fewer miles driven by buses per year since 2010

  • Thousands of bus services cut since 2010

  • Labour’s plans will ensure better value for money for the taxpayer, deliver a better service for passengers and give local authorities a choice over the bus system that works best for them. It will require no additional central government spending.

A Labour Government will pass new legislation to support local transport authorities to take back control of their bus services and has set out a five-point plan to deliver better buses.

Labour will:

1. Empower local transport authorities and reform funding: by giving local leaders more control and flexibility over bus funding and allowing them to plan ahead to deliver their local transport priorities.

2. Allow every community to take back control of their buses: by removing barriers that currently limit bus franchising powers only to metro mayors.

3. Accelerate the bus franchising process: by supporting local leaders to deliver better buses, faster.

4. Step in to safeguard local bus networks: by providing more accountability over bus operators and ensuring standards are raised wherever you live across the country.

5. Support public ownership: by removing the Conservatives’ ideological ban on publicly owned bus companies and building on the success of award-winning public bus services still in operation.

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