While many people are quite rightly complaining about the Tory cuts to local bus services, less attention has been paid to the causes and few have suggested alternatives.
Our bus services are commercially operated for private profit but, importantly, sometimes subsidised. The cost is significant – it had been £2.57million a year, paid from public funds to a private company, and as central government starves local government of necessary income it is perhaps unsurprising that our bus service is under attack yet again.
There appears to be a complete absence of joined-up thinking about this.
Our local authority is trying hard to get people out of cars and on to buses to reduce congestion and pollution – at exactly the same time, bus services are reduced.
This raises three obvious questions:-
(a) should we rely for our essential services on private companies?
(b) If so, to what extent should we regulate them for public benefit?
(c) When will national government stop impoverishing our lives to serve the dogma of austerity?
If we desire a comprehensive bus service, we should also desire the means to maintain that service. That means refusing to accept self-destructive polices that are slowly destroying it.
Councillor Lavinia O’Connor
Sussex Wharf, Shoreham Beach
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