Friday, December 9

Troy's Briefs 003

Troy Briefs - changed weekly -Buses
Britain's public transport system is less than adequate.

The number of people outside London using buses is continuing to fall despite a government drive to increase passengers, watchdogs have today warned.

An audit report found it is unlikely the 2011 target of achieving growth in bus passenger numbers in every English region will be met.

Bus use in London is increasing rapidly (probably because of the grim state of the London Underground) and should ensure the 2010 target of a 12 per cent increase for the whole of England is met.

The National Audit Office and the Audit Commission found declines in bus use in all regions of an average seven per cent.

In the report published on Friday, the watchdogs suggest that where buses in areas outside London have been deregulated, the local authorities could make savings through the better use of concessionary fare systems.

Councils are also advised to improve the way they procure subsidised bus services. The report says closer working across authorities in tendering for services would see better profits.
The report concludes that the deregulated market for bus services outside London could work more effectively.
A Department for Transport spokesman said the government was keen to build on the success in London and boost bus use everywhere.

The spokesman said the government were making significant investment in buses and encouraging partnership working between local authorities and bus operators to deliver improved services.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats, always keen to be seen to care about local issues, released the results of their own research which showed that since 2001 bus use was down 13 per cent in north east England and down 10 per cent in the West Midlands.

Lib Dem transport spokesman Tom Brake said: "Labour have comprehensively failed to meet their targets for increased bus use outside London."

Never mind - if we wait long enough they will all turn up together !

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