LONDON, April 11, 2018
LONDON, April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Responding to today's announcement that the next Labour government will provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities who introduce bus franchising, Simon Posner, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), the trade body representing the operators of buses and coaches, said:
"CPT remains convinced that bus passengers are best served by the deregulated market which has stemmed the decline in patronage (passenger numbers) and given bus operators the flexibility to respond to passenger needs and aspirations, developing their services accordingly.
"The bus industry is already delivering a wide range of youth and discounted fares to young people right across the country and these are being provided on a purely commercial basis with no additional pressure on the public purse. We believe a franchised bus market affording free bus travel to under 25s is both outdated and unsustainable, and will only add to the increasing demand on cash-strapped local authority budgets.
"Where bus operators and local authorities are working together in partnership real benefits for all bus users, especially our younger travellers - the bus passenger of tomorrow - can be achieved. In many towns and cities right across the country, partnership working has seen passenger numbers rise whilst fares have remained affordable.
"In the latest Transport Focus Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey - which sought the views of 48,000 bus passengers - passengers gave their bus services an average satisfaction score of 88%. This is an extraordinary result that many industries can only aspire to achieve.
"This is yet further evidence that the current regulatory regime is "fit for purpose" and that the further threat of local bus franchising - which could see operators lose their businesses - will do nothing but create uncertainty and market instability."