18 March 2015
Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the Budget commitments to a Northern Transport strategy, but wanted further help for rail and bus users, especially through freezing rail fares and stopping local bus cuts.
On Northern transport strategy:
Campaign Director James MacColl said: “The north of England needs a modern, integrated and sustainable transport network and so we welcome the announcement that Transport for the North will shortly publish an interim report, which must set out how the city regions will be working with local authorities and others to develop the rail network across the region, get the most out of investments being made in electrification and new high speed lines, and develop smart ticketing.”
On rail fares:
“With fuel duty being frozen again, train users will be wondering why rail fares can't be frozen. Season ticket prices have risen 4 times faster than wages over this Parliament, and have gone up more than 50 per cent over the last decade, with some commuters now having to fork out thousands of pounds. The Government has also dragged its heels on introducing season tickets for part time workers.”
Campaign Director James MacColl said: “As bus services are being cut all over the country, it is disappointing that yet again there is nothing here to solve the crisis in buses. Since 2010, local authority funding for bus services has been slashed by 15 per cent with more than 2000 routes being reduced or withdrawn entirely, severely hampering many people's ability to get around particularly in isolated areas.
While we welcome the Total Transport pilot scheme which is helping local authorities improve local transport, we urgently need the Treasury to step in to provide emergency funding for buses.”
On South West rail:
Campaign Director James MacColl said: “A new Great Western franchise agreement to introduce new trains and improve services will be good news for passengers, and we look forward to the Transport Secretary providing further details.”