CBT, National Council of Women and RNIB back John Hemming on buses
The campaign for better transport have written a letter
to Gordon Brown in which they say:We were surprised to hear your dismissive response when the issue of the number 41 bus in Birmingham was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 3 February.
John Hemming MP rightly pointed out that bus cuts are symptomatic of a national problem and that the London system of bus franchising should be an option elsewhere.
We were outraged to hear MPs laugh in response. It suggests they are out of touch with the problems people face in their everyday lives.
Two-thirds of public transport journeys are made by bus. 4.8 billion journeys were made by bus and light rail in England in 2008/9, many more than the 1 billion journeys made by rail. On average, 25% of households in the UK don't have access to a car and buses are particularly important during this recession to access employment, education and training. A reliable, high quality bus network gives people the option of leaving their cars behind, which reduces congestion and carbon emissions.
I am writing to seek your assurance that buses and the people who use them are high on the Government’s priority list. You could do this by:
- giving a clear statement of support for the use of new quality contract (bus franchising) powers in West Yorkshire and elsewhere (West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority is likely to be the first authority to use these powers)
- providing funds to WYITA and other transport authorities that want to use quality contract powers, but which need “pump priming” funding
As you can tell if you look at the letter this is backed by the RNIB, PTeg and
National Council of Women of Great Britain (NCWGB).
The response from the PM and the MPs, however, implies that bus issues are not even on the list at all.
Cat Hobbs has blogged about this here