People need better public transport. The next Labour government will make sure that local authorities have the powers they need to integrate services and make bus services run in the interests of passengers and the local economy.
Councils like Liverpool will be able to set the right bus routes and have fairer fares to help working people and businesses.
How can it be right that a child pays more to get a bus to school in Liverpool than London?
In London, child fares are 70p for a single journey, in Liverpool they are £1.10 on Stagecoach and £1.40 on Arriva buses.
Adults wanting to get to work in Liverpool pay a flat fare of £2 on Stagecoach and £2.20 on Arriva. In London, the flat fare is just £1.45.
Parents have told me that their children have missed school because they can’t find the bus fares.
Likewise, college students are having to choose their education according to cheaper bus routes rather than doing what they want.
Why shouldn’t we in Liverpool benefit from value-for-money public transport that delivers for the people who use it and the local economy?
It took lots of effort from Merseytravel to introduce the all-day £2 MyTicket for the under 16s in the face of obstinacy from the bus companies. It is now a great success, and is paying for itself as more people use the bus.
But even more could be achieved if local authorities have the right powers to deliver for local people. London transport works because local people have control and the powers needed to make it work.
Meseytravel is rolling out the Walrus smartcard next year, but it can only be used for certain tickets, because the transport authority does not have the power to cap fares.
If Merseytravel did have the right powers, fares could come down and the smartcard could be used for all journeys.
Labour will give local people the powers they need. Labour plans will:
- make introducing simple travel cards to be used across all forms of public transport easier, making journeys smoother and quicker for passengers;
- help better support the local economy by having a co-ordinated and integrated network;
- encourage more passengers on to buses, leading to more money in the fare box;
- allow small and new bus operators to be able to compete with the multinational companies for contracts.
Getting public transport right can make a real difference to people’s everyday life and help local businesses attract staff and customers.
Buses are the forgotten backbones of our communities. The Tory-led government has allowed bus fares to rise by an inflation-busting 25 per cent since 2010.
I want to see bus fares and routes back in the hands of local people, so that we can have value-for-money public transport that delivers for the people who use it and our local economy. I’m glad that Labour’s manifesto will include plans to do that.