Today in Westminster the ‘People’s Bus’ campaign received a further boost when Shadow Transport Minister, Daniel Zeichner MP outlined the Labour Party’s ambition for the expansion of the not for profit bus sector. In the debate, he also gave a strong endorsement of the Co-operative Party’s campaign.
Quoting the People’s Bus Campaign , Daniel stated:
“By keeping routes open and fares low, community transport operators are enabling people to access work and education, tackling social exclusion and loneliness, and can be the lifeblood of isolated communities.”
Zeichner detailed upcoming changes to the bus industry and the worrying decline in bus miles and in the number of operators who are prepared to run socially vital routes at reduced profit margins. He then moved on to highlight the importance of community-led not-for-profit buses.
He contrasted the private operators’ focus on shareholder interests against those who put passengers before profit, and highlighted what is by shining a light on the example of Hackney Community Transport. He said:
A shining example of successful community transport is Hackney Community Transport, formed over thirty years ago. This social enterprise provides an aspirational model for community transport, and a symbol of just what can be done. It provides over 20 million passenger trips each year and delivers a variety of transport services including mainstream bus services, school transport, social care transport and more. The bus operator recently raised a 10 million pound investment, the largest growth capital investment in the UK impact-investing sector.
It is examples like this which the Co-operative Party believe show the way forward for future bus services, and towards a bus market which reinvests profits in services and puts passengers first.