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Liberal Democrats

F16: Connecting Communities: Improving Bus Services

Submitted by: 10 Members.
Mover: Wera Hobhouse MP (Spokesperson for Transport).
Summation: Baroness Randerson (Lords Spokesperson for Transport).


Conference notes with concern that:

  1. Bus fares across England have risen by 80% since 2005.
  2. More than a quarter of bus routes have been cut in the last ten years.
  3. London buses are facing cuts across 80 routes by the end of 2023.
  4. Road transport contributes the greatest proportion of UK emissions (25%).
  5. The Government's Bus Back Better scheme has already seen funding more than halved.

Conference believes that:

  1. Buses are one of the most accessible and affordable modes of public transport.
  2. Buses are often relied upon by the very poorest as well as the old and the young to get to school or work, and to widen opportunities for sporting, social and cultural participation in both rural and urban areas.
  3. Providing bus links boosts local economies and enables people to access a wider range of local services.
  4. Buses are often forgotten in debates about public transport, despite buses being used much more widely than the railways.
  5. Buses are the easiest form of public transport to introduce, improve and expand because they require minimal infrastructure investment, especially when compared to trains or trams.
  6. Improving bus services is essential if the UK is to reduce CO2 emissions and cut air pollution.
  7. Decarbonising the UK's bus network is far easier than decarbonising all privately-owned cars, the railways and aviation.

Conference reaffirms pledges in the Liberal Democrat 2019 manifesto to:

  1. Give new powers to local authorities and communities to improve transport in their areas, including the ability to introduce network-wide ticketing, like in London.
  2. Ensure that all new buses licensed to operate in urban areas are ultra-low-emission or zero-emission vehicles by 2025.
  3. Support rural bus services and encourage alternatives to conventional bus services where they are not viable.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Provide funding to restore cut bus routes and create new ones.
  2. Give all local authorities greater powers to franchise bus services and simplify the franchise application system.
  3. Reverse the ban on local authorities setting up their own bus companies.
  4. Extend half-fares on buses to 18 year-olds, allowing them to continue receiving half-fares while still in full time education.
  5. Introduce a 'Young Person's Buscard', similar to the Young Person's Railcard, for 19 to 25 year olds giving them a third off bus fares.
  6. Support local authorities in switching from petrol and diesel buses to low-emission alternatives such as electric or hydrogen.
  7. Support the development of innovative rural schemes, including on demand services.

Applicability: England only.


Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes. For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 9 of the agenda.

The deadline for amendments to this motion , is 13.00 Monday 5 September, see page 12 of the agenda. Those selected for debate will be printed in Conference Extra and Saturday's Conference Daily. The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.00 on Saturday 17 September, see pages 8-9 of the agenda.