Bradford South MP Judith Cummins today spoke in the House of Commons about bus services in Bradford.
During the debate on the Bus Services Bill, Judith pressed the Government to reintroduce bus franchising, which ceased in the 1980s with deregulation of the sector.
Judith also said offering franchising only where there is a devolution deal in place is a ‘cynical ploy’ by ministers that will deny public transport users the benefits and improvements it could deliver.
Since bus franchising ended, bus passenger numbers have declined substantially. Judith told MPs that since 1984, bus journeys in the largest city regions – outside of London – had fallen by an average of 51%.
Judith highlighted the profits being made by a number of bus operators at the expense of the travelling public. Analysis conducted by the Urban Transport Group – a transport think-tank – revealed that profits in city regions were running at double the levels seen among bus operators in London. In London, bus operators on average make 4.1% in profits, but in city regions the figure is 8.1%.
Judith added: “Dividends to shareholders have taken priority for too long.”