17 February 2011: What a couple of weeks it has been. Since the launch of the campaign on the 3rd February we have had a huge amount of interest from the media, from other charitable organisations and from the public.
This all indicates that buses really do matter, and that this campaign is set to be really well supported and a powerful force to defend buses from cuts.
By 8am on the launch date I had already been interviewed on 13 local BBC radio stations. Throughout the day we appeared on everything from the Today programme to Channel 4 News and the campaign got great coverage in the print media the next day. We were delighted to get buses so far up the news agenda, and to see bus users interviewed in so many media reports so that they were able to explain in their own words why bus cuts would be a disaster. If you are a bus user and would be happy to speak to the media please let us know, as it will make the campaign stronger if we can highlight the personal stories behind the bus cuts.
On the 1st February I attended a Buses Seminar at the Houses of Parliament, organised by the RMT. From MPs to union members, everyone was talking about the difficulties facing buses. Our Chief Executive Stephen Joseph spoke on the platform, and our report Buses Matter was handed out to everyone attending. We hope the report has helped to open the eyes of politicians to the devastating impact of bus cuts, and will be put to good use by bus campaigners up and down the country who need to persuade decision makers that bus cuts are counterproductive. We have also sent all local authorities in the country a letter with ideas for ways that they can still make savings while protecting bus passengers.
So what next? Well it’s all very well getting a campaign on the TV, but now is when the hard work really begins. To make this campaign successful we really need ordinary people to come out fighting to defend their treasured buses. You can use our bus cuts map to find out what is going on in your area and the online directory of local groups will help people who want to campaign against bus cuts meet each other. We have also put together a buses campaigning guide for beginners. Please do read through and be sure to contact me if you want help or advice on firstname.lastname@example.org .
We are continuing the fast pace of the campaign, with plans to make a supplementary contribution to the Transport Select Committee enquiry on bus funding, to ensure that they have the information gathered by our bus-cuts mapping project to hand when they deliberate the issue. We are also working with a broad range of organisations, from AgeUK to Greenpeace to Citizens Advice on a project that will bring the issue of buses to the attention of people at the highest levels of government. I will update the blog with more information about this soon.