Batley & Spen MP: Government Have Let Yorkshire Down on Bus Services

Tracy Brabin MP has today spoken out on the Government’s handling of the bus industry.

This news comes as Labour have released analysis showing that five more years of this Government’s plans for the bus industry will see fares rise to 59 per cent more than 2010.

Meanwhile, falling operating costs and rising revenue caused by higher fares will lead to growing profit for private bus companies, and operating profit will grow by £3.5 billion over the next parliament, rising to £5,156 million more than 2010.

Labour’s analysis also finds that there will be a reduction of nearly 5000 bus routes between 2010 and 2022, in addition to higher fares and cuts to bus routes will see bus passenger numbers fall by 13 per cent compared to 2010, with the number of elderly and disabled passengers using local bus services in England falling by nearly 20 per cent.

In contrast, Labour have put forward a proposal to extend the powers to re-regulate local bus services to local councils if they want them – not just to those combined authorities with an elected mayor, and to overturn the government’s ban on municipal bus companies, so that local councils will have the power to establish a community bus company.

Batley & Spen MP and Shadow Minister for Early Years, Tracy Brabin MP commented:

“The Tories policy of deregulating bus services has been a total failure: in Yorkshire and the Humber we have seen fares rise as patronage has plummeted.

“In Yorkshire and the Humber bus passenger journeys have fallen from 358 million in 2010/11, to 330 million in 2015/16.

“Labour will give London-style powers to regulate buses to passengers in Yorkshire and the Humber, so that bus services can be run in the interests of passengers. There are too many areas in our region where pensioners have a bus pass but no bus.

“For too long the bus industry has been allowed to put profit before passengers. A Labour Government will change that.”

Local bus user, John Appleyard said:

“It’s correct that bus usage has slowed down. In Batley & Spen we have some very good services, but I am concerned about important services like the Birstall to Dewsbury and District Hospital bus being cut.

“It’s great that Arriva are updating busses with things like installing Wi-Fi, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of services. There’s certainly room for improvement”.