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So wheres all the money going to come from to pay for these bus services? Where will the councils get the expertise to dictate the bus services required?
Its all pie in the sky and with all these half baked ideas will probably mean less buses rather than more.
What happens when the transport budget is cut because the money is required elsewhere?
Bus services are not “confusing” to the large majority of their passengers who know perfectly well where they go and what they need to pay. They do not go to places where we middle class people think they ought to go, they go to where working class punters need them to go. The classic example of just such a “Transport Policy in Action” is diverting buses via an out of the away rail station ( a favourite expectation of local government urban planners). The fact that it inconveniences 98% of passengers for the benefit of a vocal 2% is blithely ignored.
The other long standing trend is to “tidy buses away” out of the town centre and put them in the back streets to enable pedestrianisation.
The majority of bus users are low income people in unfashionable communities. Buses carry vastly more people than the railways for instance and receive a fraction of the subsidy given to rail users. An average bus user gets 60 pence in subsidy. A typical rail user, as well as being wealthier, gets a subsidy of £10 for each journey.
A medium sized bus operator will for instance carry more passengers in a year than go through Heathrow a fact that puts the hullabaloo about airport capacity into context!
A long distance bus user on the other hand , travelling by coach because they cannot afford to go on the train gets NO subsidy. Get down to your local bus station early one morning Simon and have a look at the typical person boarding a coach.
Sadly your piece confirms the gap in perception between planners and policy makers ( who always know best what people should want and if they don’t want it should be forced to have) and the experience of everyday bus users.
Can I give you a tip, do a bit of research into the career of Stagecoach boss Brian Soutar. He entered a world in 1980 run on exactly the lines you propose, a bus industry run by dirigiste planners who pursued all the policies you are recommending. Within a decade he had wiped the floor with the entire industry, municipal and nationalised. How? By finding out what his customers want not what planners think they should have. By the way I am no particular fan of his, but by the mid 90 s he was worth £600 m and like Michael O’Leary he is a policy wonk’s nightmare!
Promising. I live in Bath and specifically Bathwick Hill. We’re overloaded with university buses – double decker, bendies and single. it’s out of control and driven by unlimited university student growth. What can the new mayors or bus bill do to challenge this?