Green Party calls for transport re-think as report shows vulnerable are worst hit by bus cuts

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Green Party has called on the British coalition government to re-think its transport policy following August 11's report on bus services, which shows that cuts are disproportionately effecting the most vulnerable.

The report from the Transport Committee, entitled 'Bus Services after the Spending Review', reveals that local authority cuts to transport budgets have seen the young, old and disabled hit hardest. The cross party committee also criticised the lack of consultation undertaken before 70% of councils reduced subsidised services or raised fares.

Alan Francis, Green Party transport spokesperson, said: "The Select Committee report should be a wake-up call to government and councils that are cutting the funding for local bus services. Vulnerable people, especially the young, the old, the disabled and the poor, will be the hardest hit by the withdrawal of bus services.

"These people depend on bus services in order to access jobs, shops, education and health care, and are precisely the people that the government should be looking out for, rather than making their lives more difficult."

The report shows that the Coalition is failing to fulfil its pledge to provide better value for money in public transport, with prices set to rise above the rate of inflation, and further loss of services expected.

Transport Committee Report, ‘Bus Services after the Spending Review', available in full on the following locations:

The problem is, however, in Britain not just cuts but the cost of fares also. The cuts but hard because they actually reduce the services and cut some routes, often rural ones, altogether, thus making people depend on cars, and if they haven't got a car or a license then they are well and truly screwed.

High fares do the same – or a similar – thing in that they make it either impossible for people to get to places by public transport and thus if they haven't got a car and cannot afford the high fares they are disadvantaged again. On top of that such high fares make people with cars use them, regardless.

The entire transport policy of Britain, and not only just now, has been one, for a long time, geared only to the car user. Beeching already saw to that when he destroyed the railways. And ever since then everything was being geared more and more to the car and less and less to public transport, to cycling and walking.

We need a sustainable transport policy in Britain, a truly sustainable one, where public transport and all other alternatives to the car have priority over the car. But, I am afraid, that is wishful thinking.

Things will come by themselves, as far as the alternatives, other than public transport, are concerned, such as cycling and walking, with the ever increasing costs of fuel, in due course. But, we do need to have also a proper public transport infrastructure and one that is publicly owned and not run on a for profit basis.

© 2011