100 years’ ago today, there was a strike on the buses.1
The strike arose out of a demand from women conductors that they should also receive the bonus of five-shillings a week that had recently been awarded to male conductors. Of course, nowadays, no-one – perhaps other than UKIP representatives and supporters who seem to think that equality is some strange form of political correctness – would contemplate discriminating so blatantly as this. However, it is clear that there is still considerable gender discrimination in pay in all employment sectors.
But, how often do you see a bus conductor of any gender nowadays? They are almost as rare as hen’s teeth. In fact, their demise correlates strongly with the demise of local public transport since Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the bus services some thirty years ago, since when there has been a 40%+ reduction in the number of passenger journeys in South Yorkshire. Is it any surprise that that correlates strongly with the rise in road congestion, which has added so much to journey times and business costs?
I have long argued that we need to take back local public control over transport services so that buses, trams and trains are run for the benefit of passengers – and in support of local economic, environmental and social regeneration policies – rather than for the profits of the shareholders of transport companies.
In recent weeks, there have been a large number of articles and reports in the local media - including the views of local users, operators and politicians (including myself) - about our local bus services.
Now, the all-party House of Commons Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into people’s experiences of and expectations about bus services throughout the UK. It is important that the voices of Sheffield and South Yorkshire people are heard in this consultation.
The Committee specifically wants to know:
- What are some of the factors that might be affecting bus use in our local area?
- How reliable is the bus service in our local area?
- Does congestion affect bus use in our local area? If so, what measures have bus companies taken to improve this?
- How dependent are people on bus services in our local area?
You can find out more about the inquiry and how to make your views known at
business/committees/ committees-a-z/commons-select/ transport-committee/news- parliament-2017/health-of-bus- market-inquiry-launch-17-19/? utm_source=CWC-Transport-Bus+ services&utm_campaign= 62384b788d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_ 2018_08_15_08_38_COPY_01&utm_ medium=email&utm_term=0_ 3005bc3c8f-62384b788d- 99886639&mc_cid=62384b788d&mc_ eid=04f1d8f500
I invite everyone who is interested in trying to improve our local bus services to contribute. Do it now.