There's a bus crisis afoot! Strikes due!

12 January 2015

Bitterwallet - new Routemaster buses Britain's bus services are in a bad way. No, we're not talking about people moaning about the body odour of others or youths listening to music too loudly on their bright red headphones, but rather, the services themselves.

Councils have been cutting the budgets to our bus services, which weren't great to begin with and a report by the Campaign for Better Transport reckons we're at crisis point. They say that half the councils in England and Wales have cut funding for buses in 2014/15, which the Department for Transport batted away, saying that these decisions were best made locally, so go and tut at them,

The report also says that rural areas have been worst hit by cuts and that, nationally, in 2014/15, almost 500 bus services were cut, altered or withdrawn. It added that 22 councils cut bus funding by more than 10% in 2014/15 and that the overall reduction in Wales in 2014/15 is more than £900,000, with 86 bus services having been cut, altered or withdrawn.

CBT's Martin Abrams said the government needed to "wake up to the crisis facing buses". He continued: "Across the country, bus services are being lost at an alarming rate. Year-on-year cuts to budgets mean entire networks have now disappeared, leaving many communities with little public transport and in some cases none at all."

"It's very worrying that further steep cuts in budgets are threatened next year and beyond. The government must introduce new initiatives which recognise the vital social, economic and environmental role buses play."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union, wasn't best pleased either, saying: "This shocking new report lifts the lid on the trail of misery left strewn across the country as multimillion-pound cuts to bus services condemn hundreds of thousands of people to lives of isolation and imprisonment in their own homes. The poisonous cocktail of cuts and privatisation reinforces our call for bus services to be taken back into public ownership with the resources required to run as a comprehensive public service."

In addition to that, thousands of drivers are preparing to strike tomorrow as part of a campaign for a single agreement covering pay and working conditions, with around 27,000 Unite members from 18 companies protesting. One of the main sticking points is that there's no collective pay rate for bus drivers, which means wages differentiate greatly. Some drivers are paid £3 an hour more than others, among the 80-odd pay rates in the industry.

And when passengers were polled, two thirds backed the drivers' campaign. Transport for London says that the strike will begin at 4am tomorrow and then hit the night bus service on Tuesday evening.

TfL issued the guidance below on their website.

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy

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