The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 30th November 2018

Public Transport not Private Profit

by New Worker correspondent

TRANSPORT union RMT has sternly denounced Britain’s bus companies for neglecting services and favouring profitability. In its evidence to Parliamentary Transport Select Committee Inquiry into the bus industry the union said that 76 per cent of bus workers did not think that there was enough funding for bus services. A mere 2 per cent thought that the government had good policies for the bus industry, a massive 84 per cent called for public ownership.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “With services in decline and vulnerable and isolated communities taking the brunt of the cuts it is now clear that decades of bus privatisation has 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.”

This was echoed by hundreds of protestors gathered at College Green in Bristol last Saturday to protest at the disgraceful bus service provided in the city and South Gloucestershire by first Bus.

The rally was addressed by speakers from the Labour Party, Bristol Trades Union Council, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.

Kerry Bailes, speaking for South Bristol Labour, told the protestors that “I’m a single working parent with very few transport choices.

Ms Bailes said that “We’re all here today for the same reason - we’re all fed up of first Bus’s poor public service.

Organiser Frankie Langeland told the rally “there are lots of delays, the price for a lot of people has gone up... which a lot of people are angry about.

Frankie went on to say “People are having problems with buses not turning up at all... buses being cancelled, buses are driving past because they are so full they weren’t able to pick anyone up... and this is just happening day in day out”.

Speakers also pointed out that in early November first Bus had raised the price of a day ticket in the Bristol area by 11 per cent and that a single ticket for distances less than three miles had increased by a whopping 25 per cent. first Bus holds a virtual monopoly of bus services in the area and has total control of deciding the routes, frequencies and ticket prices with no accountability.

Earlier this month the region’s metro mayor, Tim Bowles - a Tory, described overcrowded buses, with regular cancellations and delays, as “good news” as it showed an increasing number of people were using public transport.

Roger Thomas, speaking for Bristol Trades Union Council, told the rally that the trades council was campaigning for the municipalisation of the buses

Roger went on to say that first Bus was only interested in profits for its’ shareholders and that Bristol won’t get a decent bus service whilst it’s run for the profit and remains in private hands.

Roger said that it was also a question of pay. Whilst the cost of bus travel goes up the workers depending on these bus services to get to work aren’t compensated by their employers and that bus drivers haven’t seen any increase in pay.