TAMESIDE’S bus services are infrequent, unreliable, expensive, behind the times with technology and subject to route change at little notice.
That’s why I am proud to join campaigners from across the constituency and beyond to call for better buses for Greater Manchester.
I know bus regulation doesn’t sound like a very jazzy subject but the quality of buses in an area is fundamental to people getting to work, getting to school, getting to shop, and to our local economy.
It’s also a big issue in my mailbag – late buses, cancelled buses, dropped bus routes and I absolutely share residents’ frustrations. It’s time for the bus system we deserve.
What I want to see is Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham hasten forward the kind of bus regulation that other parts of the country already enjoy.
At the moment, bus companies have the power to chop and change services with no consideration of community need. As part of the devolution deal that gave us the Mayor we got the law changed to allow this regulation. Now we need to get on with it.
Chopping and changing routes not only hits our local economy by making it harder for people to hold down a job or get to the shops, but it also leads to social isolation with citizens paying the price through loneliness and ill health, and the taxpayer ultimately picking up the bill via the NHS and other necessary services.
In addition, while some local bus companies finally accept contactless payments, we still can’t do sensible joined up ticketing with Oyster-style card, phone or debit card tickets. This is because bus companies here can’t currently be made to share day rates etc across company lines.
I’ve campaigned for better buses for years, including speaking in Parliament. I am a great believer in better transport.
Sometimes when I get the bus from my house in Stalybridge to my office in Hyde people look amazed that their MP is getting the bus. But good bus services can be the transport mode of choice.
Will you join me in the campaign? Get involved: https://betterbusesgm.org.uk/better-buses-manchester-homepage