Government bus investment a ‘drop in the ocean’
- Thursday 6 February 2020
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has described the announcement that the government is planning to invest £170 million in improved bus services, as a ‘drop in the ocean’, full of gimmicks and likely to lead to greatly increased fares in some cases.
As part of the package the government has announced plans to make all buses electric by 2025, funding to restore some bus routes and the introduction of ‘uber style’ apps for buses in some areas.
Since 2010 local government funding for bus services has declined by around 40 per cent and as a consequence there has been a similar decline in the number of bus routes in England.
Bus service cuts
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “The money being pledged for the creation and the reinstatement of bus routes is an absolute drop in the ocean, compared to what has been cut from bus services.
“Unite would welcome any initiative to reduce emissions but an announcement to make buses electric by 2025 is a unachievable gimmick, as there has been no investment in the infrastructure needed for recharging entire fleets of buses.
“Passengers need to be aware that while ‘uber style’ bus services sound attractive, journeys will be very expensive and could result in vulnerable customers being priced out of services or unable to arrange journeys, creating increased problems of isolation for many communities.
“Bus services are essential for the travelling public getting to work, accessing shops and visiting friends and family, it is vital that that there is proper long-term investment in bus services and not one off publicity seeking stunts which simply don’t address the needs of bus users.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.