Chris Grayling has managed to perfect the art of ministerial incompetence, with scandals of trains that don’t run, and ferry companies that don’t have ferries.
Yet the true scandal of transport is our broken bus service.
Most people in Bury don’t catch the train much.
It’s buses that should get people to work, get our children to school, and allow the elderly to retain independence.
This should mean buses are given top priority as a vital link for our local communities and economy.
But for too long local monopolies have taken £60 million a year in subsidies and provided an increasingly fragmented and unreliable (if not unusable) service.
All this, yet the prices are raised year on year!
The bus companies claim that they can’t run services that people don’t use – in fact, the problem is the other way round.
People simply can’t use services that run so infrequently, and increasingly don’t turn up at all.
That is if you’re lucky enough to have a bus route at all.
This needs to change – buses are not a luxury, they are vital.
That’s why I’ve been campaigning with Better Buses For Bury, to gain the power and political will to build a proper franchise system as they have in London.
This franchise would have the people who use the buses, and not profit, as the priority.
It’s false economics to run a shoddy service on a shoestring budget which stops people getting to their jobs, and means they spend so much valuable time just getting from A to B.
Not only will a properly run franchise mean people have reliable and affordable transport, it will mean we can tackle another great scandal – that of the filthy air caused by the congestion of our roads, which is a direct consequence of people being unable to rely on public transport.
A franchise system in Bury will create a transport system that allows people to take back control of their lives, boost employment prospects, and tackle the damage being done to our environment. This isn’t just about better buses, it can mean better lives as well.