Friday, 1 May 2009

MP to challenge ministers over Bristol bus shambles

Northavon MP Steve Webb will use a debate in Parliament next week to challenge the Government over what he will call the 'shambles' of public transport in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The MP will lead a 30 minute debate on Tuesday (May 5th) on the 'regulation of local bus services'. The Lib Dem MP has called for the debate in the light of the decision by First Bus to withdraw the X27 service with no consultation and a minimum of notice. Speaking ahead of the debate, Steve Webb said:

"The way public transport is run in our area is a disgrace. We have one dominant company that provides an expensive service and cherry picks the best routes. They are happy to work with councils on the high-profile 'showcase' routes, but pick and choose the rest. Public transport used to be about public service but these days it is purely about private profit. The Government could have got tough with the bus companies through its recent Local Transport Act but instead just tweaked the rules. The new Act did nothing to stop First scrapping the X27 with little notice, and now local taxpayers are having to pay to keep the service running".

In the debate the MP will call for greater powers for local councils to determine what bus services operate in their area and to cap excessive fares. He will quote the views of dozens of local residents who signed the online 'Save our buses' petition who were disgusted by the threat to the X27. A minister from the Department for Transport will respond to the debate which will be held at 1.30pm on May 5th.

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