Connecting communities

25 Sep 2023
Bus with display showing 'sorry not in service'

Affordable, reliable bus, tram and rail services connect communities, but for too long the Conservatives have allowed services to decline.

Almost a quarter of bus routes have been cut in the last ten years outside London, while fares have risen by 89% since 2005. Rail passenger levels have only just recovered to their pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile rail electrification is at a standstill with just 101 miles of line due to be electrified this year and a new rail line in Bedfordshire not being built with electric trains in mind. 

Buses are often relied upon by the very poorest as well as the old and the young to get to school or work. Buses are the easiest form of public transport to introduce, improve and expand because they require minimal infrastructure investment. Improving bus services is essential if the UK is to reduce CO2 emissions and cut air pollution.

Providing bus and rail links boosts local economies and enables people to access a wider range of local services. Public transport widens opportunities for sporting, social and cultural participation in both rural and urban areas. 

Today Liberal Democrat members have passed new policy, calling for action to improve bus and rail services and bring costs down:

  • Giving local authorities more powers to support and fund new bus services, including powers over franchising and introducing simpler tickets.
  • Removing the ban on local authorities creating their own bus companies.
  • Extending half-fares for bus, tram and train tickets to cover everyone up to the age of 18, while they remain in compulsory full time education.
  • 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 and tram fares.
  • Establish the new Great British Railways before the next election to act as a "guiding mind" for the railway, ensuring that the needs of passengers and freight are put first.
  • Establish a ten-year plan for rail electrification to increase the number of passenger journeys covered by electric trains prioritising freight routes in the first five years to move more freight to rail.
  • Supporting rural bus services and on-demand services where needed.

Reverse the government cuts to the active travel budget and introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes.

Liberal Democrats have a positive plan to fix bus, tram and rail services - allowing people to access services, boosting local economies and protecting our environment.




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