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Major parties' focus on buses is welcome, but investment strategy is needed, say campaigners

12 April 2018

Campaign for Better Transport reacts today to the Labour Party's promise to fund free bus travel for all young people in all Local Authorities in England that bring buses under public control.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

"We support concessionary travel for young people, but it should be universal - not linked to governance change. Funding that is tied to buses is essential, but all local authorities should receive it and be free to spend it using the powers of the Bus Services Act appropriate to their areas.

"What is most desperately needed is a long-term Coach and Bus Investment Strategy setting out a comprehensive programme of investment and infrastructure improvement. Such a strategy already exists for rail, roads, walking and cycling; why should buses be the poor relation? We call upon all parties to commit to this. 

"Another major cause of frustration for bus passengers and operators alike is congestion and the delays that it causes. We need to see bus lanes strengthened and expanded to make journeys more reliable."

Labour included in the same announcement a promise not to cancel any road building schemes. Stephen Joseph said:

"This short-sighted, blanket support for road building is very disappointing. New roads generate new traffic and quickly fill up; we need sustainable alternatives." 

Labour's announcement comes two days after the Government announced that the free bus pass for older and disabled people has been protected in its current format for the forseeable future.

Stephen Joseph said:

"We welcome the fact that more parties are focusing on buses, which are an oft-neglected but much-used form of transport, and on the need to reduce travel costs for passengers. For the sake of communities and the environment it is essential that more is done to reverse the decline in bus services and bus use."

Ends

For further information please contact Campaign for Better Transport's communications team on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or communications@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Labour's announcement can be found here: Free bus travel for under 25’s
  • The Government's announcement can be found here: Protect free bus travel scheme
  • Campaign for Better Transport produced a report for The Intergenerational Foundation in 2013 entitled No Entry! Transport Barriers facing Young People. The report, which found that young people rely on buses more than any other age group and are significantly disadvantaged by policies affecting bus provision, can be found here: No Entry!