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Thursday 13th September 2012 | 00:01
Labour press release
Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the Transport Select Committee’s report into the local bus industry, said:
"The Government’s decision to cut funding for vital local bus services too far and too fast shows just how out of touch Ministers are with the day to day lives of millions of people up and down the country.
"Ministers should listen to their own consumer watchdog, Passenger Focus, which has warned that those most affected by the loss of a local bus service are older people, teenagers, those on lower incomes and those with health issues. With one in five supported bus services now at risk, these cuts have left older people isolated, young people unable to access college courses and made it harder for those unemployed to get back into work.
"The reality is that bus deregulation outside London is a dogmatic experiment that has failed. Yet those transport authorities who are seeking to use the Quality Contracts legislation passed by Labour in government to protect local bus routes and regulate fares are being penalised by Ministers. It is completely wrong for the Government to bar from accessing Better Bus Area funding those transport authorities who seek to reverse bus deregulation in their area. The Government is putting the wrong people first by siding with the private bus companies over passengers.
"In contrast, Labour’s Policy Review has been looking at how government could better support transport authorities who seek to reverse bus deregulation, including through the introduction of Deregulation Exemption zones. It’s time that passengers across England were able to benefit from an integrated transport network with smart ticketing and regulated fares on local bus and rail services as exists in London.”