On 18 December First Bus announced new ticket prices in Leeds.
They will come into effect on Sunday 4 January. There are no decreases – surprise, surprise. But there will be a number of fare increases – a 10p increase on most single and return fares, and corresponding increases on weekly, monthly and annual fare tickets.
New Year, new fare rise.
Labour locally has called for powers to regulate buses – routes and fares – through a Quality Bus Contract, which would mean giving Leeds the sort of powers London has over its buses.
‘A Quality Bus Contract Scheme would mean that the Combined Authority would be responsible for deciding where buses run, how often they run, what fares and tickets are available, what quality standards buses run to and what happens if things go wrong. Made by local councillors, these decisions would be based on local needs and priorities and affordability.
Bus operators would then have to bid to run bus services on Metro’s behalf.’
Labour nationally agrees. And last week it launched its new bus campaign – Passenger Power. Michael Dugher is determined to put communities and passengers in control of local bus services. Labour will hand powers back to local communities to save crucial bus routes.
Labour nationally is promising the sort of power which Labour in Leeds feels is essential to make the buses work for their passengers.
The problems is country-wide. Across England, over 1,300 bus routes have been cut since 2010. People living in rural areas in particular are seeing their bus services disappear. In rural areas, the number of miles of local bus service has dropped by a massive 23 per cent compared to 2010.
At the same time, bus fares are rocketing, going up by 25 per cent since 2010 – an increase five times faster than wage growth. Yet over the same period, operating costs for local bus services have stayed the same.
New figures reveal that bus passenger fare receipts from this year were half a billion pounds more than in 2010. And the operating revenue for the bus companies has increased by four per cent since 2010.
Bus companies have been cutting crucial routes that people rely on at the same time as increasing fares to maximise their own profits. Like the energy companies, the bus market is broken.
That’s why Labour has set out a new plan for local bus services to fix the problems.
The next Labour Government will legislate to give greater control over local bus services to cities and county regions. Through the ability to determine routes, set fares and integrate bus services with other forms of public transport, local areas will be able to provide better services at one clearly understood price.
Michael said, “Local bus services are the lifelines of our communities.
“Whilst the bus companies are coining it in, local bus routes are being slashed – and this Government says everything is fine.
“The bus market is clearly broken and the way local services are provided is not fit for purpose.
Labour will stand up for passengers by changing the way things work to hand all English regions London-style powers over local bus services. This will ensure communities get the local bus services they need.”
And if you want to help Alex Sobel win here in Leeds NW, and to help bring about Passenger Power, why not sign up here