Dearne MP’s campaign for bus control

Michael Dugher MP
Michael Dugher MP

A new campaign has been launched to give local communities greater control over bus services amid claims that numerous routes have been reduced in recent years.

The Labour-backed ‘Passenger Power’ scheme aims to decentralise the running of services and give passengers more of a voice in deciding what routes should be retained and introduced.

It was unveiled last week by Barnsley East MP and shadow secretary of state for transport Michael Dugher, who claimed new figures showed there was a million less miles of bus routes in Yorkshire and the Humber last year, compared with 2010. He accused large bus companies of cutting crucial routes and increasing fares to maximise profits.

Labour’s plan involves giving communities more power to determine routes, set fares and integrate bus services with other forms of public transport to provide a better service. Mr Dugher said: “Whilst the bus companies are coining it in, local bus routes are being slashed and this Government says everything is fine.”

But a spokeswoman for bus operator Stagecoach hit back and claimed Mr Dugher was “out of touch” with the real situation and added: “He is trying to blame bus companies for bus cuts that have actually been made by cash-strapped local authorities. Labour’s proposals for bus franchising are economic fantasy.”