My Petition on 38 Degrees for Bristol and Surrounding Councils to Get Power to Run Bus Services

I realise this a local issue to my hometown of Bristol and the surrounding districts, but other towns and areas up down the country are in the same position. Last week one of the bus companies serving the city, Bristol Community Transport, went bust, leaving many areas in Bristol without a bus service. At the moment the bus companies serving the city are First Group and Stagecoach, and there are fears that they’ll only provide buses for the profitable routes. The services in jeopardy are 52, 53, 54, 55, 62, 505, 506, 511, 512, 515 and 516. There have been council meetings about it. At one of these, one councillor said that leaving commercial companies to run bus services was like teaching pigs to fly. Sarah Woodward, a local councillor for Bath And North East Somerset, has said that local councils should have the power to run buses, either by nationalising them or awarding franchises.

She’s absolutely right, and I’ve put up a petition about this on 38 Degrees. This runs:

‘To: Karin Smyth, Kerry McCarthy, Darren Jones, Thangam Debonnaire,, Lynda Chalker,

Give Bristol and Surrounding Councils Power to Run Buses

Last week one of the bus companies serving Bristol, Bristol Community Transport, collapsed. This follows years of poor funding for the city’s buses so that many services have been cut, particularly to the outlying suburbs. There is now no bus service connecting Whitchurch in the south-east to the city centre. Many people therefore have to rely on taxis to get into town, and these can be very expensive. A taxi from Whitchurch to one of Bristol’s main hospitals, the Bristol Royal Infirmary, can cost £17 to £21. There is a real danger that the commercial bus companies serving the city will cut services further to concentrate on the profitable routes.
Many routes are not commercially profitable, but they are vital for people to get to work, their children to secondary school, to hospitals and clinics and to shops and other services further in town.
Bristol Councillor Don Alexander has said that the commercial services are failing the city. Liberal Democrat Councillor for Bath and North-East Somerset Sarah Warren has said that what is needed is for local authorities to be given the power to nationalise bus companies or to run franchises.
She is correct. This is exactly what is needed. Local transport authorities should have the power to create and run their own bus companies or award franchises so that buses keep running to outlying districts in and around Bristol. And these companies should be properly funded.

Why is this important?

Bus services are vital for people without their own transport. Not everyone has cars and motorcycles, and Bristol council is trying to stop people driving into the city. While some goods and services are available online, many aren’t. Some people, particularly senior citizens, are not on the internet. And many people would in any case wish to use real, physical shops. This is quite apart from the many instances where people need to travel into the city, such as for medical reasons.’

If you want to sign it, the petition’s at:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/give-bristol-and-surrounding-councils-power-to-run-buses

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