Hello! I’m excited to be joining Campaign for Better Transport as the new Public Transport Campaigner, developing Campaign for Better Transport’s national campaigns on bus and rail.
I join Campaign for Better Transport from the disability rights charity Transport for All. Together with activists, I successfully campaigned for equal access to public transport, including an accessible Crossrail; manual boarding ramps on London Underground; and protecting door-to-door schemes. My work at Transport for All powerfully brought home to me how participation in virtually every arena of public life, from healthcare to political participation to dating, depends on reliable, affordable public transport. For some Transport for All members, being able to use public transport made the difference between being able to get out and about; and being trapped at home in front of the telly.
It’s an important moment for transport campaigners. Rail devolution will mean that there will be more opportunities than ever for passengers to have our say – but it will take organised passengers for this to translate into real power over how services operate. The disability rights movement uses the slogan ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, and I think that’s a sound philosophy for passengers too. At the moment, value for money on the railway leaves much to be desired. The people who use trains every day know them best, and we should be able to have our say on how they are run.
And within the next few months, the Buses Bill will come before Parliament. The franchising and partnership powers expected in the Bill have the potential to improve bus services, benefiting both bus users, and the businesses and communities that rely on them. However, unless there’s money made available to run bus routes, then we’ll continue to see more people cut off from work, friends and families. It’s time that legislation properly recognised the contribution that buses make to quality of life, and I hope to work with Campaign for Better Transport supporters to achieve this.
High-level influencing and growing the power of local campaigners
One of the things that drew me to Campaign for Better Transport was the combination of high-level influencing with a commitment to growing the power of local campaigners. Research can provide important evidence to make change, but on its own achieves little without the political clout that comes from public support. My aim is to help amplify the voices of everyone fed up by inadequate buses and expensive train fares. I look forward to working together to make lasting improvements to the transport system.