Stagecoach sets out post-lockdown plan

Stagecoach has called for a joint strategy between industry and government to secure vital public transport networks out of the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond.

The operator has set out a six-point plan identifying the short and long-term changes it believes will help reboot the economy and protect communities.

Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, outlined the proposals in a social media blog and said sustainable public transport was critical to the future. The call comes as recent research by consultants SYSTRA suggests public transport use in Britain’s cities could be 20% lower than pre-Covid-19 levels after lockdown.

The six-point plan calls for:

  • A joint operational and investment plan developed by industry and government to ensure a sustainable transition of Britain’s bus networks from the emergency levels of lockdown to more comprehensive links which support the country’s recovery. Measures needed include steps to rebuild confidence in mass transit, a move away from peak-time commuting to spread demand and investment in transitional support for transport operators as passenger numbers take time to grow.

  • Radical, permanent changes by national and local government to infrastructure and planning. Road and street space should be prioritised for walking, cycling and high capacity public transport over private cars, with a fundamental reallocation of limited space and steps to encourage first and last mile connections. Public mobility hubs rather than private car parking spaces should be requirements for planning new housing developments, offering public transport connectivity, electric charging points and cycling.

  • Wide-ranging measures to deliver on the government’s levelling up agenda for regions outside London, with many hit hard by the economic shock of COVID-19. This includes new place strategies for towns and cities to rethink high streets, promote local spending and create new attractions, as well as leveraging public transport’s capacity to bring shoppers and visitors to regions on a scale that will not damage the environment.

  • Lifestyle changes, particularly around travel, as well as a focus on technology to address the damaging impact of transport emissions. Many single-user car trips, the transport equivalent of disposable plastic bags, should be replaced by public transport in urban locations.

  • A “grown-up conversation” to re-examine fiscal policy as the government considers how to pay for the coronavirus pandemic and the necessary actions the country has taken. This would include a complete transformation in how transport journeys are taxed. A move to a system where the polluter pays and sustainable behaviours and use of buses, trams and trains, as well as active travel, are rewarded to make these modes more affordable and accessible to all.

  • Targeted investment in decarbonisation, including sustainable transport and infrastructure, to help restart the economy, put Britain at the forefront of the green revolution and speed up recovery. Maximising the potential of Britain’s world class and world-leading bus manufacturing sector by accelerating government investment in electric bus fleets will deliver a cleaner environment, improved health and cement Britain’s position as a clean-tech leader.

Read the full blog here.

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