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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How to get back Britain back on the buses

"Who could possibly object to older and disabled people travelling for free on the buses of England? Not me - but what a shame the Government doesn't realise that all bus fares need to fall",
writes Cat Hobbs of the Campaign for Better Transport on the Guardian's travel blog.

Cat's right, but the best - and cheapest way- for the government to get bus prices down is simply to bring bus transport back into public ownership.

If you're ever up in the Inverness region you may pass the grounds of Beaufort Castle. And if you're ever in Perthshire, you might also drive past the grounds of Kinfauns Castle. What have two stately homes in Scotland got to do with rip-off bus fares I hear you ask? Well, quite a lot actually. Both properties in question are owned by Ann Gloag of Stagecoach, Scotland's richest woman.

Stagecoach, together with other private bus operators have received vast sums in public subsidy- yet despite this bus fares carry on rising above inflation.
Taxpayers money should not be used to help rich people buy castles (quite a reasonable position as I'm sure you'll agree, but it seems that the British government and HM Opposition think otherwise). It should instead be used in developing a co-ordinated, publicly owned, cheap at point of use public transport system, to encourage people to get out of their cars and on to trains, trams and buses.

But this will never happen so long as our money is being hived off by the privateers.


David Lindsay said...

Free public transport for pensioners is of course a good start. But it is only the start.

We need a national network of public transport universally free at the point of use.

Unaffordable? We seem to afford the Iraq War, we seem to afford to bankroll both the devolved and the EU institutions, and we seem to expect to afford the "renewal" of Trident.

Charlie Marks said...

Gloag, she doesn't like ramblers... Why doesn't it surprise me?

Charlie Marks said...

And get this:

Neil Clark said...

david: absolutely. there's always money for illegal wars and to bankroll EU institutions, but not for free public transport, full restoration of NHS dentistry, or putting our Old Age Pensions up to the European level.
Charlie: thanks for the link. Taxes are only for the little people to pay in New Labour Britain.

neil craig said...

Aye the buses were so much cheaper in real terms back when it was a state monopoly?