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Passengers meet with council leaders in campaign to save West Yorkshire’s buses
Bus users yesterday (Thursday 15 October) met with council leaders from across West Yorkshire in an online public meeting to call for action on West Yorkshire’s failing private bus network.
- TUC organised meeting brings together key workers, pensioners, parents and disabled users
- Council leaders will hear personal testimony of how private bus services are failing local residents
- TUC calls on government to save local services
An NHS worker, a school assistant, a pensioner, a parent, and an ex bus driver and disabled user, will be among the speakers who will give personal testimony to show how private bus services are failing local communities.
The meeting, organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is part of the Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign, which aims to bring our buses back into public control and ownership.
The union body’s analysis of DfT data shows that West Yorkshire has lost 4 million miles of bus route since 2014, in a stark display of the failure of the privatised model of bus provision.
Further data shows that public spending on local bus services in West Yorkshire has fallen by £6.5 million in the last 20 years, with 24.6 million fewer passenger journeys since 2009, and 9.5 million fewer elderly and concessionary passenger journeys since 2009.
Hundreds of local residents have written to their council leader raising concerns about cuts to services, and inviting them to a virtual public meeting to hear these concerns face to face.
Cllr Judith Blake (Leeds), Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford), Cllr Kim Groves (WYCA transport committee chair), Cllr Tim Swift (Calderdale), Cllr Matthew Morley (Wakefield), attend the meeting.
Gareth Lewis of the TUC yesterday said:
“Our bus system is in crisis.
“Buses in Yorkshire should be run to serve our community, not for the benefit of private operators. But right now we face a funding cliff edge, with hundreds of services at risk.
“We’re really pleased to be meeting with council leaders in West Yorkshire, who clearly recognise the risk that our local buses are in.
“The Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign is ready to work with councils to change the privatised system that is failing working people.
“Right now, public money goes straight from government to private operators, with local councils having little say over routes, timetables, or services. We need that money to come directly to councils, so decisions about bus services can be made closer to those it affects.
“The government needs to fully fund services, including infrequent and socially necessary routes. We cannot let the poorest pay the price for a failing system.
“Public control is the best way to ensure that decisions about bus services are made by local people, for local people”
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