For more than 20 years governments have known that action needs to be taken to stop the decline in bus passenger numbers, that congestion was the main inhibitor of reliable bus services and that, to reduce air pollution, we needed to move people out of cars and into buses wherever possible.
Consultation documents were issued and legislation was passed but, in nearly every case, these were never fully implemented and never fully funded. The ideas were mostly sound. The words well intentioned. The actions half-hearted and hopeless.
The Traffic Management Act Part 6, which would give LAs powers to clear bus routes and penalised those who stop in box junctions, has never been fully implemented. Secondary legislation and guidance required for franchising by the Bus Services Act was supposed to be finished by the end of 2018 but we are still waiting for it. Funding for concessionary fares zis based on 2005/06 ticket prices and we are still waiting for a review of the funding for socially necessary services - No wonder LAs struggle to fund non-commercial routes.
For the people of North East Somerset bus services are vital as a means to travel to work, to health services, to school or college and for social purposes
Nick Coates, LibDem parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, says:
"I will be pressing B&NES to maintain services, at least, at the current level. I will be lobbying for WECA to do more regionally including looking at franchising or enhanced partnerships. I will be pushing central government for a multi-year funding settlement which demonstrated our national commitment to reducing carbon emissions, decreasing congestion and improving health."