15 March 2021
RMT Press Office:
Commenting on the publication of the DfT’s bus strategy, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT has long called for the creation of a National Bus Strategy to address the massive decline in the bus industry since it was deregulated in the 1980s and we welcome the Government’s acceptance that this is necessary for local bus services to play a key role in connecting communities and meeting our climate change targets.
“However, the strategy appears to lack ambition for addressing the challenges of getting people back onto sustainable public transport following the Covid-19 pandemic. Just days ago, a new National Audit Report warned that cash strapped local authorities may be forced to cut support for local bus services because of funding pressures while one of the major bus companies Go–Ahead was boasting about profits it had made during the pandemic.
“It is vital that the Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t push more people into cars, this would increase carbon emissions and worsen public health, but RMT fears the profit driven commercial bus operators are already looking to respond to the pandemic with service cuts.
“The only way to deliver an effective, integrated, accessible and affordable local bus network is for the Government to provide guaranteed ring-fenced national funding for all local authorities to deliver the bus services their communities require via a publicly owned municipal bus operators which recognises and protects the vital role of our essential bus workers who performed so heroically during the pandemic.”