Rugby TUSC statement on cuts to rural bus services

BUSES SHOULD BE A PUBLIC SERVICE

The reported comments of Stagecoach Midlands managing director Phil Medicott, in defending cuts to rural bus services in the Rugby area, illustrate just why public transport should be a service we can all use at the point of need just like education, housing or social services. The privatisation of public transport, together with Government cuts to local councils, have combined to make providing such a service nigh impossible at a time of austerity.

Phil Medicott made the point to Warwickshire County Council that Stragecoach’s decision to leave some local areas without public transport was a commercial one based on what was and wasn’t viable as a business. In other words, if a bus route doesn’t make a profit they will not continue to provide it. Mr Medicott actually said he was not a ‘socially necessary’ supplier of public transport – he was the supplier of a commercial network. This is a disgrace – our buses are a public service much needed by many people, including the elderly, vulnerable and the disabled. In addition, public transport is environmentally friendly and cuts pollution levels

We are pleased Warwickshire County Council has stepped in to save some of the bus services Stagecoach has cut locally, but the Council has limited resources because of public spending cuts. We are very concerned about the effects of remaining service cuts on rural communities, and we have heard of disabled people having to phone ahead and be met off the bus in Long Lawford now that there is no bus going through the heart of the village – the distance from the bus stop is now too far to walk. We will campaign to persuade Stagecoach to restore these vital bus routes

Pete McLaren

Secretary and spokesperson, Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

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