Councillor James Lewis, Chair of the group of six Transport Committees serving eleven million people in England’s largest city regions, welcomed today’s pledge by Ed Miliband to give transport authorities the powers they need to introduce London-style bus regulation.
Councillor Lewis said:
“To have the leader of a political party making bus regulation front and centre of their devolution policy is a breakthrough moment for bus users in the city regions. We have been arguing long and hard that what is good enough for London on buses is good enough for our cities too. If the powers are simplified so that we can regulate bus services in the same way that London does then we can bring in Oyster-style smart, simple and integrated ticketing. We can give guarantees on service quality and reward those bus companies that deliver, and penalise those that don’t. We can make sure buses connect rather than compete with each other, and that bus, trains and trams are part of single networks accountable to users through better consumer rights, proper consultation and via their elected representatives. We can also put a stop to the abuse of local monopolies by bus companies to make excessive profits and we can fix what is a broken market to provide far better value for money for taxpayers.
“Sorting out urban bus services matters in so many ways for our cities because buses are the main form of public transport. They get the workless to the jobs, young people into education and training, and older and disabled people out of isolation. They are relied upon by the poorest yet at the same time benefit everyone by reducing congestion for all road users through taking cars off the road. Being able to plan, develop and oversee public transport is a fundamental building block of any credible plan for meaningful devolution. It’s taken for granted by London and cities right round the world, and we are delighted that the momentum is growing that our city regions should have the same powers.”
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Notes for editors
The group of six Transport Committees (the City Regions Transport group of the LGA) cover West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Tyne and Wear.