Following Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today where Jeremy Corbyn’s series of questions on buses exposed Theresa May’s ignorance on the subject, Labour have released new figures revealing how Tory cuts to bus services have hit the North and the Midlands.
Bus journeys across the North East have fallen by 30m journeys since the Tories came to power.
Visiting Abington Community Centre in Northampton this morning, Andy McDonald MP (Shadow Transport Secretary) and Matt Rodda (Shadow Minister for Buses) released a new Labour analysis of Government figures, which reveals that since 2010 bus passenger numbers have collapsed in the North and the Midlands, falling by 7 million a year both in the North West and in the East Midlands, by 5 million in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 4 million in the North East and by 3 million in the West Midlands. Released for Catch the Bus Week, the figures show that nationally, the number of bus routes is projected to fall by nearly 5,250 by 2022.
In Northants Andy McDonald and Matt Rodda met with residents and Councillor Arthur McCutcheon to highlight cuts to bus services across the town and county. Northampton is set to lose another ten bus routes that service the town by the end of this month, as cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council announced further removal of subsidies.
Since 2010-11, when the Conservatives came to office, there has been a net reduction in funding of £172 million from supported bus services in England, a reduction of 46 per cent. But meanwhile fares have risen 13% above inflation. Partly as a consequence, bus travel is at its lowest for a decade.
While passengers suffer, operators continue to make enormous profits. English bus operators have made a total of £3.3 billion in profit since the Tories came to power in 2010.
Under the next Labour government, local authorities will be able to take back control. Councils will have the choice to regain regulatory powers so that they can set the fares, routes, and timetables that will put the needs of communities ahead of corporate interests.
Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“The Tories said deregulation would improve our buses but they are running the bus services into the ground. Passengers now face a toxic mix of rising fares, cuts to services and reduced access. Meanwhile, private companies are coining it in with growing profits.
“Buses are consistently ignored because the political class don’t use them. But for tens of millions of people, especially those outside the capital, they are vital, and very often they’re the only mode of public transport available. That’s what makes the Tory attack on buses so appalling.
“Enough is enough. Labour will rebuild our bus services. We will give councils the freedom to run first class bus services which the public are proud of.”
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, said:
“Under this government, bus services are in crisis.
“A bus pass isn’t much use if there isn’t a bus.
“It will be a Labour government that saves the bus services and a Labour government that gives free bus travel to under-25s.”