from 'First in Essex'
9-week DIVERSION affecting MUNDON ~
Routes 31B /
31X are currently
unable to serve the village of Mundon.
They are diverted via Fambridge Way. You are advised to check with First
Essex buses before
travelling, since these arrangements may be subject to further last-minute
alterations. Chelmsford Travel Centre contact number is 01245
263859 (office hours only).
from Essex County Council
The County Council wants your views on Chelmsford Park and Ride to help
improve the service. The survey closes on 24th July. It's available at
Catch the Bus Week
Catch the Bus Week was celebrated in
DHBUG visited the 'Harbour' group on 5 July to offer advice and answer
questions - thank you for the warm welcome and lively response. Some
very important points were raised, for which we are most grateful.
Over in the other place, Prime
Minister's Questions for 4 July focused on British bus operations: here
is our abstract:-
With fares rising above inflation, passenger numbers falling and
services being cut, does the Prime Minister accept her failure on yet
another public service: the buses?
…we should look at the responsibility that local authorities up and down
the country have for the buses.
Since 2010, her Government have cut 46% from bus budgets in England and
passenger numbers have fallen, and, among the elderly and disabled, they
have fallen by 10%. Her Government belatedly committed to keeping the
free bus pass, but a bus pass is not much use if there is not a bus.
Does she think it is fair that bus fares have risen by 13% more than
inflation since 2010?
It was right that we made that commitment in relation to bus passes.
What we are seeing across the country is that, as people’s working
habits are changing, there is less usage of buses, but we are working
with local authorities on this. Local authorities have many
responsibilities in relation to buses, and I suggest that the right hon.
Gentleman asks some of those local authorities what they are doing about
the buses in their own areas.
Under this Government, fares have risen three times faster than people’s
pay. Bus users are often people on lower incomes whose wages are lower
than they were 10 years ago in real terms and who have suffered a
benefits-freeze. Under the stewardship of this Government, 500 bus
routes have been cut every year, leaving many people more isolated and
lonely and damaging our local communities. Does the Prime Minister
believe that bus services are a public responsibility, or just something
that we leave to the market?
I have made the point on two occasions about the responsibilities that
others have in relation to buses. The right hon. Gentleman might, for
example, look at what the Mayor of London—who when I last looked was a
Labour politician—is doing in relation to buses in London. The right
hon. Gentleman talks also about the impact of fares on lower-income
people. It is important that we consider the situation of people who are
on low incomes. That is why it is this Government who introduced the
national living wage and have increased the national living wage. That
is why it is this Government who have taken 4 million people out of
paying income tax altogether. That is helping people on low incomes in
When Sadiq Khan ran for Mayor of London, he promised to freeze bus
fares, and what has he done? He has frozen bus fares. If the Prime
Minister is concerned about the travelcard fares, she should speak to
the Secretary of State for Transport: he is the one who sets that fare.
Bus routes are being wiped out: 26 million fewer journeys have been made
across the north of England and the midlands under her Government. So
much for a northern powerhouse and a midlands engine. Can we be clear:
does the Prime Minister think that deregulation of the bus industry,
putting profit before passengers, has been a success or a failure?
The right hon. Gentleman talks about what the Mayor of London has done,
but what have we seen in the number of people using buses in London? It
has gone down under the current Mayor. If he wants to talk about what
Mayors are doing, I am very happy to talk about what Andy Street, the
Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, has done; he has extended free
bus fares to apprentices and students.
It will be a Labour Government who save the bus industry and who give
free fares to under 26-year-olds. The truth is that since deregulation
fares have risen faster than inflation, ridership has fallen and these
private bus monopolies have made a profit of £3.3 billion since 2010.
That is what the Tories give us in public transport. The Government have
given Metro Mayors the powers to franchise and regulate to secure better
services. Why will they not extend that power to all local authorities?
Of course, the local authorities have some responsibilities and
capabilities in relation to subsidising bus routes and fares; and, yes,
we have given those powers to the Metro Mayors. The right hon. Gentleman
earlier referenced what was happening in the northern powerhouse and the
midlands engine. I will tell him what is happening: more investment in
our public transport; more investment in our roads; and more investment
in the infrastructure that brings jobs to people in the north and across
It is a shame that this Government are so shy of giving powers to local
authorities and are instead more interested in cutting their resources.
Bus services are in crisis under this Government. Fares are increasing,
routes are being cut and passenger numbers are falling. The situation is
isolating elderly and disabled people, damaging communities and high
streets, and leading to more congestion in our towns and cities, with
people spending more time travelling to work or school. It is bad for
our climate change commitments and for our air quality. Will the Prime
Minister at last recognise the crucial importance of often the only mode
of transport available for many people by ending the cuts to bus budgets
and giving councils the power to ensure that everyone gets a regulated
bus service, wherever they live?
I will take no lessons from the right hon. Gentleman in devolution to
local authorities. Which party has established the Metro Mayors and
given them those powers? It is the Conservative party in government.
Which party is doing growth deals around the country, giving local
authorities new responsibilities? It is this Conservative Government.
And what did we see in the north-east? When we were talking to Labour
councils in the north-east about a devolution deal, Labour council
leaders there rejected that devolution. That is what the Labour party is
doing. The right hon. Gentleman wants to know what this Government are
delivering for the people of the north, the south, the midlands—for
every part of this country. We are delivering record high employment,
rising wages, falling borrowing, stronger environmental protection and a
Britain fit for the future.
relayed in good faith, E & O E.