Bus services across England and Wales are in meltdown with frequencies facing drastic cuts or routes being axed altogether. The Confederation of Passenger Transport has warned that if the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) is removed, 30% of bus services could be axed.
As well as retaining the BRG, we need government support to train more bus drivers and incentives to retain them. The private bus operators are driven by profit. This has put the interests of shareholders above passengers and resulted in poor pay and working conditions for drivers.
The Green Party would make sure local authorities have the power to ensure that bus services reflect all the principles of a public service, including setting routes, frequencies and fares [and setting up their own bus companies to deliver services].
One of the difficulties facing the bus industry is a drastic fall in passengers as a result of the pandemic. We want to see government encourage local authorities to drive a shift away from private cars towards public transport and active travel. Smart road pricing and measures such as a Workplace Parking Levy can help encourage this shift and raise funds to improve bus services.
There also needs to be large-scale investment in electric buses and such investment would be an ideal use of funds raised from road pricing mechanisms.