Public transport – an update

Well, the end of November has come and gone, and, miraculously, we still have a bus service through my village!!

In some respects, I am heartened by this as an example of how ‘people power’ can have an effect, with many passengers signing our petition, and, probably more importantly, individually expressing their dissatisfaction to the bus company, local authority, parish council and local MP.

Depressingly, though, it appears that political machinations may also have had a part to play, as only a couple of days after the announcement of the revision of the planned ‘service changes’, which arose as a result of a meeting between the local authority’s transport committee representative and the bus company, plans for a 2-year study to consider the feasibility of an Integrated Transport Authority for the Greater Bristol area were also dramatically thrown out, by the same transport committee representative and his counterparts in the other two unitary authorities that surround Bristol. Could it be that compromises to the planned cuts were offered as a bargaining chip by the bus company to counteract the prospect of a severe curtailment in its power and influence in the future under an ITA? (There was also a strong rumour that another operator had expressed an interest in providing buses along an extended route which would have represented better service and better value for money for passengers.)

What was particularly noticeable, in the immediate aftermath of the decision, was the alacrity with which the latest changes to the services were publicised – all of the players scrambling to take maximum credit for ‘a creative solution to this problem’ on their websites and in the local press – a striking contrast indeed to the silence surrounding the original proposals …

Jo Morton
Production Editor, The Policy Press

Traffic jam: Ten years of ’sustainable’ transport in the UK – A timely analysis of the UK government’s sustainable transport policy 10 years after the publication of A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone.

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