In Letters to the Press, we highlight the work done by local activists who contact the local media and help to shape discussion in our city. This letter addresses concerns over the future of local transport.
Leicester Green Party were disappointed, but not surprised to read in the paper today that LCC intend to pursue an Enhanced Bus Partnership (EBP) rather than a franchise model as the vision for our future bus and transport model. An EBP will still mean private bus companies set fares, and routes, but with some limited input from councils. Franchising gives councils the powers to set fares, routes, plough profits into loss making routes, and create genuinely integrated transport systems across the city and county.
LCC claim the EBP will ‘see fares cut and services expanded’, but an Enhanced Bus Partnership does not give councils these powers!
Lack of power is something the Mayor has consistently used as an excuse for our miserable and imploding bus services, blaming bus companies, or the ‘Tory government’ for stripping from councils the powers to run bus services themselves. Yet when he’s given the chance to introduce franchising, he doesn’t?
An EBP is still defined by competition law, gives councils NO powers to set fares or restore essential lines, no control over future income or cross subsidising for essential but unprofitable routes, and actually undermines integrated transport services.
However, the most alarming issue is that there is little evidence of the city and county working together: An EBP for the city alone, or one for the county alone, make absolutely NO sense, yet Cllr Clarke does not even mention the county in his press release, and the county’s bus survey does not mention the city, once!
People go to school, work, shopping and travel across city boundaries every day, and consistently say bus services need to cater for people wanting to go around the suburbs and county, not only in and out of the city centre. For example, why must people living in Saffron travel to the city centre and then travel out to Fosse Park in the county, and are not able to travel direct?
The city and county councils seem to have have decided to go for schemes which are in danger of being very little more than window dressing, especially if their Bus Services Improvement Plans are not even integrated.
We encourage everyone to write to their councillors and fill in the county survey, before this opportunity to improve buses is lost. Bus services need to be cheap, fast frequent, and be genuinely integrated across city and county. It will take more than shiny shelters and the odd grass roof to save our buses.
Have you sent any letters to the press on Green issues, or do you have an issue you’d like the Leicester Green Party to know about? If so, please get in contact.