Union body calls on government to save local services
Millions of miles of bus route could be at risk, with 17.5 million miles already lost
Hundreds of emails sent to council leaders raising concerns about bus routes
The TUC is today (Tuesday 6 October), launching a campaign to save Yorkshire’s buses, as the government’s eight weeks of emergency funding for buses comes to an end.
Recent reports suggest that 40% of Yorkshire’s bus services could be lost if funding is not maintained, with evening, infrequent and socially necessary services all at risk of being scrapped.
The union body’s analysis of DfT data shows that the region has lost 17.5 million miles of bus route since 2014, in a stark display of the failure of the privatised model of bus provision. North Yorkshire was worst affected, with 5.3 million miles lost since 2014.
Hundreds of local residents have written to their council leader raising concerns about cuts to services, and inviting them to a virtual public meeting to hear these concerns face to face.
Gareth Lewis of the TUC said ‘Our bus system is in crisis.
‘Buses in Yorkshire should be run to serve our community, not for the benefit of private operators. But right now we face a funding cliff edge, with hundreds of services at risk.
‘Right now, public money goes straight from government to private operators, with local councils having little say over routes, timetables, or services. We need that money to come directly to councils, so decisions about bus services can be made closer to those it affects.’
‘People need to get to work. But as we face a crisis of mass unemployment, the government is pulling the rug out from under people’s feet. Cutting services will be catastrophic to people’s life chances.
‘The number of emails sent in response to our day of action demonstrates how worried local people are about losing their bus route.
‘The government needs to fully fund services, including infrequent and socially necessary routes. We cannot let the poorest pay the price for a failing system.
‘Public control is the only way to ensure that decisions about bus services are made by local people, for local people.’
Emergency government funding of £218.4 million to support bus routes was granted for right weeks from Saturday 8th August. After which, funding was to be reduced to £27.3 million per week. Accessible here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-coronavirus-support-for-buses-and-trams-total-funding-tops-700-million
40% of services at risk comes from research conducted for the Urban Transport Group, accessible here: https://www.urbantransportgroup.org/system/files/general-docs/Support%20for%20Urban%20Public%20Transport%20-%20Final.pdf
TUC analysis of DfT figures is available here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/funding-local-bus-services-yorkshire-and-humber-down-third-2010-tuc-analysis
Details of the virtual public meetings on 15th October (West Yorks), and 19th October (York, North Yorks, South Yorks), are available here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/better-buses-yorkshire-zoom-calls
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
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