Strong case for the urban bus made at Westminster event

Monday, May 13, 2013
Group photo of some of the speakers at the urban bus event

- Momentum builds for better deal from the Spending Review –

More than 65 MPs, bus industry leaders, councillors, think tanks and civil servants met today (13th May) at a pteg event on ‘The Case for the Urban Bus: Getting on Board for Growth’ to discuss the key role that the bus plays in supporting the UK’s urban economies and how the Spending Review could give the bus a better deal.

Delegates at the event - also supported by Centre for Cities, Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and Greener Journeys - learned more about the findings of a recent pteg report on the case for the urban bus, which shows that in PTE areas alone urban bus networks generate £2.5 billion of economic benefits. The meeting also heard from CBT Chief Executive, Stephen Joseph, about the case that pteg, CBT and Greener Journeys have made to the Treasury on the case for a better deal for the urban bus from the Spending Review. This briefing shows that funding for buses comes from more than one Government Department yet there is no cumulative assessment, or understanding, of the impact on buses. The case made to Treasury calls for bus funding to be given greater parity with the way rail spending is treated, for accelerating the current projected increase in local transport spending and for tax benefit concessions for commuters who use buses.

David Brown, Chair of pteg, said:

‘There is a sense that the role and potential of the urban bus in supporting and stimulating growth is now better understood, and being taken more seriously, by key decision makers in Whitehall. We think today’s event has contributed to that process. The range of speakers and participants in today’s discussion also demonstrated just how widespread the benefits of investing in bus services can be – from supporting UK vehicle manufacturing to improving public health, and from getting young people into work and training, to reducing road congestion. It was particularly pleasing to get so many organisations and interest groups round the table today who normally you would never see at an event on buses. One more indication of the strength of the case and of how momentum is building for a better deal for the urban bus.’

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport said:

‘There is now a wealth of evidence about the value of buses to the economy, to society and to the environment. Buses increasingly offer the more efficient mode of transport in a world of carbon budgets, high energy prices and growing cities. George Osborne’s stated aims for the spending round are growth, efficiency and reform of public services to make them fairer and more localised. He could fulfil all three aims by using the spending round to introduce a better deal for the bus.’

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys said:

‘There isn't a single area of our daily lives that doesn't  in some way depend on buses - from employment to education, health to retail and leisure. Buses are key to facilitating sustainable economic growth, and investment in buses provides excellent value for money to the taxpayer. Our message to the Chancellor is clear: if he is serious about growing the economy he must support the bus.’

Ends

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485

For photographs from the day, please contact Andrew Wiard at andrew@reportphotos.com  or call 07973 219201.

Picture caption (L-R): Konstanze Scharring, Director of Policy, SMMT;  Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport; David Brown, Chair, pteg; Pedro Abrantes, Economist, pteg; Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys; Dr Janet Atherton, President, Association of Directors of Public Health; and Tony Travers, Director, LSE.

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