31 January 2019
RMT Press Office:
Bus union RMT slammed private bus companies in England yesterday which have pocketed a total of £3.3 billion in profits while presiding over savage cuts to vital routes and attacks on the jobs, pay and working conditions of their staff.
New research by the Labour Party has also revealed how bus fares are set to rise while private companies are making record profits.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comments that private bus companies were running bus services into the ground, while raking in billions of pounds in profit.
“With services in decline and vulnerable and isolated communities taking the brunt of the cuts it is now clear that decades of bus privatisation have failed and we need a new national strategy for our buses underpinned by public ownership.
“This would not only radically improve services but by ending profiteering would result in a total gain of half a billion pounds each year,” he said.
Government data also shows private firms together made hundreds of millions operating busses outside London each year since the coalition government came to power in 2010.
Yet a report by the Transport Commissioner found almost 17,000 bus routes have disappeared over the past five years.
The Labour party’s analysis of government figures also showed how bus fares could increase by 53% by 2022, if previous rises continue.
Tightened council budgets have also made bus services that were under-used, but previously considered essential, vulnerable to cuts.
Labour – which analysed the official figures – said that the stats highlighted how the bus industry “puts profit before millions of passengers”.
The Labour leader said that “passengers now face a toxic mix of rising fares, cuts to services and reduced access”.