The RMT has said the bus sector needs a ‘drastic overhaul’ if it is to improve in the future.
The Transport Select committee has told the government they need to do more to improve bus services across the country.
£1bn made available to local authorities for their Bus Service Improvement Plans ‘is simply not enough money to produce real improvements in bus services across the whole country’ and that ‘allowing roughly half the country to miss out risks entrenching, and in some cases creating, a two-tier system in which bus services improve in one area while, across an invisible county border, they worsen or even disappear,” the report found.
It highlights that the Government hasn’t reviewed the ban on municipal bus companies, or issued new guidance on socially and economically necessary services and says ‘we urge the government to put its promises into action,’ according to the RMT.
The report concludes: “Post-pandemic, many people’s lives have changed, and this has altered, perhaps permanently, when and where they wish to travel.
“So far, the Government has responded to this challenge with limited, albeit welcome, schemes such as the £2 fare cap. But it needs to do more. It would be absurd for the Government to spend billions of pounds to support the ailing bus sector through the pandemic and then allow it to wither away.”
Responding to the report, bus workers union RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This report underlines the reality that the government has failed to fund bus services properly and RMT believes there needs to be drastic overhaul in how we run our bus services in our towns villages and cities.
“Local bus services are a lifeline for many, providing access to employment, education and healthcare, but the decline experienced since the industry was deregulated means that few people have access to a reliable bus service.
“Two years after its National Bus Strategy was published, the government has still not acted on its commitment to review the ban on municipal bus companies.
“It is clear ministers are more interested in protecting bumper profits made by bus companies, than protecting and providing a vital service to passengers.
“Local authorities need sufficient ring-fenced national funding to run their bus services in public ownership as part of an integrated and publicly owned public transport network.”