21 December 2023
Right now, West Yorkshire is consulting on bringing buses into public control, as combined authorities across the country mirror Andy Burnham's success and pledge to put passengers before profit. Residents have the historic chance to take back their buses, after Thatcher sold them off in her disastrous deregulation experiment.
Just how popular is the policy? And what should it look like? We commissioned Survation to poll 1,000 West Yorkshire residents to find out... and the results were decisive.
- 77% of passengers agreed that, as private services receive huge amounts of public funding, timetables, routes and fares should be set by public bodies
- 70% believe that, to help buses turn up on time, drivers should be employed directly by the public authority, not by private operators
- The Mayor of West Yorkshire should have the power to fine or ban private bus operators who don't meet their service obligations, say 74% (just 7% disagree)
- A majority back plans to have a publicly owned operator of last resort, as with rail, to guarantee passengers aren't left in the lurch when companies fail
- 76% would like to see representatives from local businesses, community groups and drivers on the transport board
So, not only is public control massively popular, but the public want West Yorkshire's Mayor to go further than Andy Burnham and make sure that public control protects workers, that decision making is opened up to the public, and that opportunities for full public ownership are created.
The Labour Party has committed to increasing powers for local authorities to bring buses into public control and to set up publicly owned companies (if elected). But our polling shows that they have a long way to go before their policies truly represent what passengers want...
Matthew Topham's op-ed in the New Statesman has more on the polling, and how Labour needs to ensure there is proper funding for local authorities to be able to deliver for the public when implementing the popular bus policies.
If you live in West Yorkshire, you can fill in the consultation HERE.