23 June 2011: There is so much doom and gloom for buses at the moment I thought I would take a moment to celebrate good news. Read on for some silver lining stories.
Bristol FreeBus: While many people worry about rising bus fares, campaigners in Bristol are pushing for a totally FREE bus service. Their first regular FreeBus service launched last weekend, and now runs every Saturday. The FreeBus project now has more than 700 members and has raised over £7000 from Bristol residents. It’s all about demonstrating practical new ideas for public transport.
Parish Councils come to the rescue: When the number 42 bus to York and Selby fell victim to the North Yorkshire Council cuts, residents put their thinking caps on and came up with an innovative solution. Parish councils have agreed with Arriva to underwrite the cost of running the service over a 6 month trial period. At worst this means a bill of a few hundred pounds for each parish at the end of the trial. However if local people’s efforts to advertise and promote this service pay off, then the number 42 will be a become a busy little commercial service running on nothing but bus fares now and into the future.
Dales Bus victory: Community enterprise transport service Dales Bus was brought back from the brink thanks to the hard work and initiative of environmental campaigners in the Yorkshire Dales. The popular network of rural bus services into the National Park are safe at least for the summer.
School transport saved: In Norfolk campaigners stopped Council plans to cut all help for school transport for 6th formers in their tracks. Let us know if you have had campaigning success in your area.
As our clickable map makes clear, the picture of bus cuts is not universal, with some local authorities managing to protect bus services. Northumberland and South Gloucestershire have avoided bus cuts, and Staffordshire as well as Middlesbrough and Medway have launched new discount schemes for young bus users.
And in other good news, a delivery of lovely new Save Our Buses travel card holders has arrived in the office – so if you would like a ‘hot off the press’ plastic wallet to keep perhaps your weekly ticket or bus pass safe please email me. Donations to cover costs are as always welcome!