Pressure grows for west of England bus franchising
Public and political pressure mounts on the western England area to bring buses back into public control.
A campaign group is calling for a franchised bus network in the west of England, in response to operators having to make cuts in bus services in the region.
The Reclaim Our Buses campaign has issued an open letter calling on the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Metro Mayor and all Group Leaders in WECA to suspend the deregulated bus market and provide a franchised bus service under contract through the WECA.
The move comes as Bristol City Council has voted to back a bus franchising deal.
The Reclaim Our Buses open letter says: “The private bus companies are entirely profit-driven, so they’re justifying the bus cuts with the falling passenger numbers, rising fuel and wage costs, and driver shortages that make the services unprofitable with no regard for the public need. Further, the financial support from the government during the pandemic will soon end and the private bus companies are not obliged to continue running services that don’t make them profits. This deregulated market is always at odds with the bus services that many in our communities need to get to work, school, shops and health centres.”
The group is calling for the suspension of what it describes as the ‘deregulated broken bus market’ and to provide a franchised bus service under contract through the West of England Combined Authority.