Bus services continue to suffer. The Campaign for Better Transport estimate that since 2010 over two thousand routes have been cut, thirty million bus miles on our roads have been lost, and fares have risen on average by 27%.
The bus market is broken – a fact that even the Conservative Government has had to acknowledge with the coming Bus Bill announced in the Queen Speech.
Our large operators dominate the market. Too often this market dominance results in Local Authorities feeling powerless to provide the services they know their local communities desperately need.
The co-operative and social enterprise sectors have much to add to this market and indeed in some cases already are. This country’s Community Transport sector is growing and is in many cases run along co-operative and mutual principles. As the bus market continues to change and new powers are devolved in the coming years, the Co-operative Party believes that our business models will become more and more relevant.
This relevance is demonstrated through the HCT Group. The HCT Group is the world’s leading transport social enterprise. This organisation safely provides over 20 million passengers trips each year including London bus routes.
- HCT deliver a range of transport services – from mainstream bus services to social care transport, from school transport to park and ride, from community transport to education and training.
- HCT reinvest the profits from our commercial work into further transport services or projects in the communities they serve.
- Rather than having shareholders as HCT’s priority, HCT share the service commissioner values
When the States of Jersey re-tendered their bus network, they were looking for a different kind of relationship with their bus operator, one based on true partnership:
We’ve welcomed having a genuine, open partnership with HCT Group in Jersey. Working together has meant saving a great deal of public money, improving services – and growing bus ridership.
The profit share agreement we have has meant more money for us to invest in transport infrastructure – a real win-win – and HCT Group’s social enterprise model will mean a new parish bus service helping the most vulnerable to get and out and about.
Tristen Dodd, Director of Transport, States of Jersey.
We would like to hear from you about your local services, any mutual enterprises in your area or if you would like to join with the Co-operative Party to campaign and promote mutual bus solutions in the future, then please leave a comment below.