High-quality public transport is essential to building sustainable communities and the local and national economy. Britain needs better transport infrastructure, a modern railway system run for the benefit of its customers, and less congestion and pollution on the roads. We also need to ensure that local communities, particularly rural communities, remain connected with local rail and bus services, and that stations serve the needs of their local community.
To build a transport system fit for the 21st century, we will:
- Ensure that new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers, including a programme of investment in new stations, lines and modern trains. We will allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and passengers to bid for franchises. We will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
- As a result of severe failings that rise to the level of breach of contract, establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to find more effective and sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for local government.
- Pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, HS3, and Crossrail 2, including development of a high-speed network stretching to Scotland.
- Invest capital in major transport improvements and infrastructure. We will:
- Shift more freight from road to rail
- Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation and prosperity across northern England
- Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the South West peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy
- Complete East West Rail, connecting up Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing major new housing development.
- Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.
- Support the takeover of metro services in London by London Overground.
- Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.
- Develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.
To protect and extend local public transport, we will:
- Introduce a Rail Ombudsman to enforce passenger rights and improve the provision of compensation, with the power to sanction rail companies as appropriate
- Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card, for young people aged 16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel – allowing young people to access education, apprenticeships, and work.
- Halt the decline in bus services and carry out a review of bus funding and bus policies. We will give principal local authorities the power to run, commission, and regulate the bus network in their area.
- Provide Local Authorities and communities with the powers to improve transport and ticketing with the ability to introduce network-wide and smart ticketing systems.
- Design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.