The charity that campaigns for improved transport is calling on the new Government to ensure the future sustainability of bus services.
Chief Executive, Claire Walters, said at the launch: “Decades of funding cuts have seen the decimation of bus services across the UK. Yet buses are increasingly being recognised as the solution to many of our most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.
“It is no longer simply enough to call for more funding. What we need now is a radical re-think of transport that actively discourages private car use and places affordable, accessible and integrated public transport at the heart of policy planning.”
The Bus Users 10 Point Manifesto for 2020 calls on Government to:
- Produce a national bus strategy aligned and equal to strategies for rail, road, walking and cycling. Wherever possible, integrated public transport journeys should be accessible in rural, urban and suburban communities, so everyone can play a part in addressing climate change.
- Recognise the critical role of the bus in improving air quality. Every measure should be taken to encourage modal shift from the car to the bus, including banning cars completely from town centres, and enhancing physical and technological priority measures to improve the reliability and punctuality of bus services.
- Change the wording of Section 63 of the 1985 Transport Act. Under the Act, local authorities should have a duty to provide socially necessary transport for the communities they serve, along with sufficient, ring-fenced funding for the purpose.
- Spearhead a cross-departmental approach to transport planning nationally and locally across the UK. Coordinate policy on education, employment, the environment, health, housing and the economy, along with Treasury involvement, to make public transport a core element of all planning. This is particularly important for new housing schemes. Ensure sufficient funding is set aside for this to happen.
(Funding for buses in England is almost £400m a year lower than it was 10 years ago. That includes a reduction in national Government support of £234m, and in local authority funding of £163m – a reduction of over 40%. Source Campaign for Better Transport 2019.)
- Require all public transport to include accessibility and design features approved by customer panels. Panels should represent all ages, needs and abilities, and funding should be available to put this in place by 2035.
- Reform community transport regulations. This should create a simple framework for non-profit services to work easily and cost-efficiently within the local transport plan.
- Make local partnership working a requirement between local authorities and bus operators of every kind. The carefully-assessed needs of the communities they serve should form the heart of the transport plan.
- Revise the concessionary fares reimbursement scheme. This should include removing anomalies within these systems along with current net losses to any operator attempting to meet local need.
- Support a simplified fares system across all travel modes. This should reduce barriers to travel, particularly for people without access to digital technology or banking.
- Make it a requirement for local authorities to understand modern travel patterns. Communities need access to late-running and weekend services to reflect changing working patterns, particularly among low paid and entry level jobs.
Further details are available at www.bususers.org