As a campaigner it is often easy to get overwhelmed or burnt out with the regular doom and gloom scenarios you are faced with, that’s why when good news comes, it’s vital to jump up and down and shout it from the rooftops.
Over the past few weeks we have heard the very good news that Derbyshire County Council has u-turned on plans to cut almost £2.5 million from its supported bus funding. This is not just a victory for local campaigners fighting for a functional, accessible bus network but a victory for everyone in Derbyshire. Of course Derbyshire County Council must also be congratulated for understanding the need for a good bus network but also the terrible impacts that bus cuts have on people.
This is not a permanent fix however as Derbyshire County Council has had to use money from its reserves to continue to fund vital bus services. At some point in the future this financial hole will have to be filled in, but with what? When Local Authorities have had 50 percent of their funding cut by Central Government, they are under more financial pressure than ever, and it is often non-statutory services like buses which are seen as easy, short term savings. The problem is these short term savings always have huge long term impacts.
Sorry, back to being positive, in February we also heard the news that Somerset County Council had u-turned on a proposal to cut funding for Saturday bus services in Frome and Shepton Mallet. This would have left this area of Somerset without any bus service at all at the weekend. “Madness” I hear you cry, well quite, and thankfully after some fantastic campaigning by local campaigners from the ‘Don’t Cut us Off’ Campaign, this proposal was thrown out by the council and both Frome and Somerset will continue to have bus services at the weekend.
Everyone at Campaign for Better Transport would like to send all local campaigners in Somerset and Derbyshire huge congratulations. Without people like these taking a stand to fight for vital services like buses our country would be much worse off. Examples of people power such as these are inspirational and are what keeps the fire burning in me as a campaigner to fight for social justice and better transport for all!