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Stephen Morgan backs “transformative” plan to deliver better bus services across Portsmouth

By 11 April 2024No Comments

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has said Labour’s plans to deliver better bus services across Portsmouth will be transformative for the city.

Labour’s plan could mean up to 236 vital bus routes created and saved in the South East and 43 million more passenger journeys per year across the region compared to today’s failed system.

Since 2010 Portsmouth has seen a reduction in miles driven by local buses from 4.21 million to 3.74 million miles – an 11% decrease.

Labour’s plan will also see better buses delivered faster, with the franchising process done in as little as 2 years, compared to the 6-year slog endured by Greater Manchester due to the unnecessary barriers imposed by central government.

Since buses were deregulated in 1985, bus services in England’s regions outside London have collapsed, with:

  • 1.5 billion fewer annual bus journeys in 2019 than in 1985
  • Almost 300 million fewer miles driven by buses per year since 2010
  • Thousands of bus services cut since 2010

Labour’s plans will ensure better value for money for the taxpayer, deliver a better service for passengers and give local authorities a choice over the bus system that works best for them.

It will require no additional central government spending. Where bus franchising is in place, in London and Manchester, buses have thrived. Greater Manchester has improved reliability and significantly grown passenger numbers less than a year after bus franchising went live.

Labour has announced it will pass new legislation to support local transport authorities to take back control of their bus services and has set out a five-point plan to deliver better buses. Labour will:

  1. Empower local transport authorities and reform funding: by giving local leaders more control and flexibility over bus funding and allowing them to plan ahead to deliver their local transport priorities.
  2. Allow every community to take back control of their buses: by removing barriers that currently limit bus franchising powers only to metropolitan mayors.
  3. Accelerate the bus franchising process: by supporting local leaders to deliver better buses, faster.
  4. Step in to safeguard local bus networks: by providing more accountability over bus operators and ensuring standards are raised wherever you live across the country.
  5. Support public ownership: by removing the Conservatives’ ideological ban on publicly owned bus companies and building on the success of award-winning public bus services still in operation.

Commenting on the news, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan said:

“After fourteen years of Conservative failure our local bus services have been driven into the ground.

“Labour will call time on the broken bus system that is not delivering for enough people in Portsmouth and across the country.

“Our plan for better buses will give every community the power to take back control of their bus services, and will support local leaders to deliver better buses, faster. This plan will mean vital bus services are created and saved across Portsmouth and the South East.”