So when, in November, all the talk and rumour was about yet more bus cuts I wrote to Jeremy Corbyn, who is a transport enthusiast, to ask what Labour's official policy regarding sponsored bus services was. Here is what I sent;
I am writing to you with two hats on. firstly as owner of Steve;s Bus & Train Page, a pubic transport blog attracting over 15,000 page views a month. Not huge, but not bad for a niche topic either.
Secondly I'm writing as a bus passenger living in the country, who has seen so many bus services cut over the last 7 years, leaving so many people with no links to the nearest town or city.
In recent days the local news around the country has been of County Councils having to find yet more savings, and bus budgets are once more in the firing line, which will leave thousands more people trapped in their homes. While recent emphasis has been on mental health and loneliness future cuts to vital community links will do nothing to aid mental health, indeed many people will find it tough to attend hospital appointments etc. It will also impact negatively on congestion etc.
I am aware you are a transport enthusiast, and would be extremely interested to hear what your views are on this subject, and how Labour would help those people affected by transport cuts re-establish their local links. I do have potential solutions myself which I'm positive no one in Government would have the courage to implement, but it's not rocket science.
I would be delighted if you could find time in your busy schedule to address these issues, either in writing, or I would be happy to meet you at Westminster for a natter. Please take a look at my blog, and you will see I'm serious and not a time waster.
Btw my local MP is Therese Coffey, so you will understand why I have approached you rather than start locally.
Yesterday I finally received a reply from Labour Party Central Office, and I eagerly opened the email to find out what the policy regarding sponsored bus services was. To be honest I never expected a personal natter with himself, but if you don't ask etc.. Anyway this is what I read;
Thank you for your email regarding Labour’s transport policy.
The Tories are failing to stand up for passengers, road users and pedestrians. Costs are rising, public money is being wasted, and promised investment is not being delivered.
Under-investment is leading to chaos and cost to commuters. Since the Tories came to power rail fares have rocketed by 27 per cent - that's a rise three times faster than the growth in wages. Some season tickets are up by over 40 per cent and bus fares have also risen by 27 per cent on average.
We were told that higher fares would fund investment, but vital projects have been delayed for years and passenger satisfaction is in decline as commuters are paying even more for increasingly overcrowded and unreliable trains.
Labour will put passengers’ first, bringing rail into public ownership. Routes will naturally return to public ownership as private contracts expire, meaning profits can be re-invested to improve services & hold fares down.
We have consistently been in favour of building an additional runway in the South East of England. But this support has always been conditional on four tests being met: on capacity, climate change, noise and air quality and the wider national benefits.
In 2010, the Government cut £4bn from the strategic road network, scrapping schemes that were later reinstated at a huge cost, and have failed to invest in council maintained roads, which have an estimated repairs backlog of £12bn.
Labour will stand up for passengers and road users by reforming our transport networks and delivering major projects that have stalled under the Tories.
Membership Services and Correspondence
The Labour Party
Erm, yes, George. Thanks for that but what about your policy regarding sponsored bus services! If anyone reading this has contacts within the Labour Party perhaps you can point them in this direction and try and get an answer. Alternatively if Jeremy Paxman is reading this then put your knuckledusters on and get me answers! I have sent a reply asking for an answer to my question and will report back if I get a reply, but don't expect it soon!