Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has today (31st October 2014) gave his backing to proposals by Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, to grant cities and regions greater powers to improve bus services across England.
Labour’s election manifesto will commit the next Labour government to giving city and county regions more power over their public transport networks so they are able to set the right bus routes and have fairer fares, as well as integrate their transport services to help working people and businesses succeed in their areas. This will give regions similar powers to regulate their bus services as those in London.
“Since being elected in 2010 I have constantly campaigned for improvements to the public transport system across my constituency – particularly on issues surrounding Arriva who operate effectively as a monopoly with fare rises and route cuts happening seemingly at a whim.
“Labour’s plan would allow combined authorities to use a simple and swift procedure for getting greater control over local bus services – setting routes and fares, introducing smarter ticketing, and integrating those services with wider public transport and growth plans.
“This will mean that rather than different private companies, such as Arriva, or Whitehall taking decisions about public transport, local areas would be put in the driving seat. Similar models exist successfully in many other countries, including Denmark, and local areas already franchise for some other services in a similar way, for example the Tyne and Wear Metro.
“These decisions are best taken at a local level so I am pleased to see that a Labour Government will commit to given the reins of power to the local area; and I intend to hold talks with Labour’s Transport Team about what this could mean for Teesside.”