Labour would hand bus services to “not-for-profit” operators
A plan by Labour would see local bus services handed to “not-for-profit” operators including community groups in an effort end the market dominance enjoyed byStagecoach, Arriva, Go-Ahead, First Group and National Express. An incoming Labour government would give councils the power to award local licences and make it much easier for non-profit groups to run services. Labour says the move will throw a lifeline to rural areas left isolated by the loss of services. The number of miles of local bus services in such places has dropped by 23% since 2010. Labour claims the local bus market is not working for passengers because 2,000 routes have seen services reduced or axed since 2010, while fares have risen by 25%. An incoming Labour government would set up an immediate review of how to boost the not-for-profit transport sector so that “passengers rather than operators come first”. It could mean local groups or co-operatives running mini-buses or traditional buses and reinvesting any profits in services. Michael Dugher, the shadow Transport Secretary, told the Independent: “Like the energy market, the bus market is broken. Developing a thriving not-for-profit sector is one way Labour will rebalance our bus market. The significant development of the not-for-profit model will help city and county regions break the stranglehold that the big private bus operators currently have.”
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