Green Councillors back proposal for £1 cap on bus travel

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Last week, the Green Party launched their ‘A One Pound Fare to Take You There’ policy, which would take the cap on single local bus fares to just £1.

Greens also want to see free bus travel for everyone under 22 added to existing schemes for seniors and passengers with disabilities. The announcement follows the Government’s extension of bus funding and £2 fares.

Lewes Bridge and Ringmer district and county councillor Johnny Denis said: “It’s always piecemeal, short-term and half-hearted with this government. A rational approach to the climate crisis, fuel prices and the cost of living crisis would be proper, long-term investment in public transport, starting with a straight-forward £1 fare and increased, reliable services, especially for our rural villages.”

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Bus passenger numbers reduced dramatically over Covid, and haven’t fully recovered. But Greens say this is partly due to reductions in services. A recent report of bus provision nation-wide shows most counties have lost bus services, including East Sussex. But there are some areas where bus services have increased. The BBC recently reported that only 13% of local authorities in England put extra funding into bus services.

One pound fare Green PartyOne pound fare Green Party
One pound fare Green Party
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Lewes county and town councillor Wendy Maples said: “The Government and local authorities should be doing all they can to entice more people onto buses. We know that local villages are desperate for better public transport connections. In Lewes town we’ve hoped for improvements to public transport. Instead the Bus Station access has been revoked by greedy, petty developers Generator Group. Visitors to the town have no idea where to catch a bus and I see people with mobility difficulties struggling to cross busy roads.”

Lewes Bridge ward district councillor Adrian Ross said, “The dreadful situation we have with Lewes Bus Station hasn’t helped at all. Instead of encouraging people back onto buses, we’ve got public confusion, local anger and passenger despair.”

The Green Party say they would pay for bus service improvements at a national level by scrapping the £27bn national road building programme – diverting this money to public transport – and allocating a proportion of their proposed carbon tax to fund the £1 fare and free travel for everyone 21 and under.

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Councillor Wendy MaplesCouncillor Wendy Maples
Councillor Wendy Maples

Lewes Priory Ward district councillor Imogen Makepeace said, “I’m really proud that our Town and District Councils recognise the importance of local and community bus services. The Town Council allocates nearly £27,000 a year to support bus routes that are considered commercially non-viable. But not all local councils can do this – and others actively choose not to, forcing people into cars or increasing isolation. Greens would put an end to the current system where private companies cherry-pick the profitable routes while leaving other passengers out in the cold and some communities completely cut off. Without local council funding, this is what could happen to the routes in Landport, Nevill and Winterbourne.”

Green campaigner Paul Keene said: “Better public transport benefits everyone - when more people use public transport it cuts congestion on our roads and in the long run it will reduce the health costs associated with air pollution. A £1 fare is fair - for people and the planet.”