Bus fares outside London have skyrocketed by two-thirds since 1995, study finds
An analysis by the think tank Common Wealth found that prices in English cities had risen by 14% since 2010 – and by almost two-thirds since 1995
Image: Manchester Evening News)
Bus fares have skyrocketed in towns and villages outside London, while commuters in the capital continue to benefit from low prices, according to a new study.
An analysis by the think tank Common Wealth found that prices in English cities had risen by 14% since 2010 – and by almost two-thirds since 1995.
By comparison, average fares in London are now about the same as they were ten years ago – after Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘hopper’ fare lowered prices for longer journeys.
Meanwhile, government investment in local public transport has declined significantly from £ 810million per year from 2007 to 2010 to just £ 227million per year over the past decade.
The think tank said affordable bus services can reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of car trips.
And they urged the government to make decarbonizing existing services a priority by investing in new fleets of electric vehicles.
Sam Tarry, the shadow Labor Minister for Transport, said the report made it clear that “the era of deregulated and privatized bus networks has been a total failure” and called for “a state-controlled system that offers a more efficient, better connected service and cheaper experience for bus users.
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He added: “Mayors and the Labor Metro authorities have deployed new low carbon fleets across the country and I am happy to see the Common Wealth report highlight that an expansion of the network of bus services – especially with hydrogen and electric vehicles – will be a key part of tackling the climate emergency and achieving binding targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Common Wealth analysis found that from 2010 to 2020, Manchester’s six largest bus operators paid more than £ 171million in dividends to their shareholders.
And they found that shareholders among operators are mostly wealthy individuals, big banks, big asset management firms, and companies owned by foreign governments.
Catt Hobbs, director of the We Own It campaign group, said: “Private bus companies and their shareholders have been allowed to take advantage of bus passengers for far too long.
“It’s time for both regulation and public ownership so that every community can get the comprehensive, affordable, high-quality bus network it deserves. People should come before profit. “
Philip Alston, professor at New York University School of Law and former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, said:, keep passengers away, eliminate competition and make unaffordable routes for those who need buses the most.
“Current government policy does next to nothing to really allow local councils to move quickly in providing the kind of services that are desperately needed. “