Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents


Written evidence from S Long, the Fairer Fares campaign (BUS 141)

BRIEF OUTLINE

The Fairer Fares campaign was established by Me Stuart Long in October 2010 with an aim and goal of assisting the members of the public in Leeds & West Yorkshire in receiving a cheaper fare on public transport.

The reason for this was and has arisen from the fact that in the last two to three years the area has seen a 40% increase in fares, many people were seen at bus stops complaining that they were paying more and actually receiving less.

Speaking to a few friends and listening to the weight of thought on this topic, we launched www.fairerfares.co.uk calling for the change, which we have received a very large response on this topic.

ACHIEVING THE GOALS

The campaign first started by receiving large numbers of signatures from members of the public as well as local councillors on asking for cheaper fares across the city, something that the main operator did not take to well to, with all the media conversation on this quiet topic across the city, we then took to lobbying the members of the house of commons for the city of Leeds and currently hold the signature base of six out of the eight members representing the people of Leeds.

With this and maintaining our drive we took to arranging a "Boycott A Bus Day" which we first arranged back in December 2010 and asked members of the public if they could, remember at this time we had just had a large supply of Snow to Leeds and ask where the public felt safe to skip a bus journey or a day of journeys and donate that saved fare(s) to a good cause which we spoke to nine of the main charities across the city and sought permission to place them on the Boycott page, to which I believe from speaking to many people across the city they took part, a voice to which we heard very soon after that First Bus West Yorkshire released a £50,000 (Fifty Thousand Pound) Pot of money for local good causes to apply and also agreeing to freeze bus fares from January for an on-going basis on all there buses.

We felt at this point that some good work had been achieved but the three magical goals that stand for Fairer Fares, Cheaper Fares, Regular Services and better local regulation had not been achieved, and we were in conversation with West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority and have since met them twice on the topic of Quality Contracts.

Could we add at this point that in October/November 2010 we welcomed what was publicised as the Public consultation on quality contracts from WYPTE but felt a little let down when after it was over to be told it was the "informal" and not "Formal" review, upon further provision and conversation were actually told it would be happening very shortly, many months later and with the publication of the Competition commission on Public Transport we are now finally being told that WYPTE are looking to do the formal review in the autumn of 2011.

The Petition that was laid before the house of commons on 8 march 2011 was and took place in Leeds on our day of action in joint progress with the Leeds Student Bus campaign, fighting for similar values, was done over a four hour period standing and meeting members of the public during that period and asking them for their thoughts and if they supported a cheaper fare across the city.

Not surprising to this 711 signatures were taken in this short four hour window showing that the people of Leeds were not happy with the service and shown to the main operator First Bus at a meeting between the Student Bus Campaign and First, a point that they took on board and have reduced the fare on the 95 service between the headingley area of Leeds and Leeds City Centre from £1.90 to just £1 to which we welcome but still wonder why this cannot be rolled out across the city if it can be achieved just because of one survey on one route in the metropolitan area.

It was felt that we needed to seek further assistance and help on this and with assistance from the Honourable Greg Mulholland MP the petition was served to the house of commons seeking help from the secretary of state for the local transport investment and delivery to which we are very happy to hear the comments returned to the house in Hansard on 27 April 2011

We have this year started to see investment in parts of Leeds with new eco-friendly buses that are starting to increase frequency, and delivery of the second target set out by the campaign but still welcome further development across the rest of the city is needed.

CONDITION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICE

As many have come to see across Leeds & West Yorkshire with the increase in fares has been the decrease in the level of service that has been provided, many a driver pulling away from a bus stops after watching you run but not allowing you on the bus, the condition on the actual bus which in rush hour traffic can look like a landfill site.

Many people in rush hour in what can only be described as and to bring your mind back to old fashioned cattle or sheep trucks taking animals to market, this has also been seen on a daily basis on the trains into and out of the city with many people fainting or receiving minor injuries due to the lack of space. With some extra provision this could be resolved and with the train network the campaign welcomed the new 20 carriages from the Department for Transport but not till December 2011 which is going part way only to resolving this problem.

Leeds and many cities across the UK needs to see investment from the operators and not just in there pension pots, profits at First last year in the excess of £100 Million show that it is just a profit exercise and nothing to do with social investment, the happier the customer the more they stay or comeback and spend more, we need a service that is welcoming, that we can use easily and oyster card systems would benefit all to make access quicker and less of a burden on the driver for change.

If we the paying public could actually sit down on a journey we might feel that we are getting a return for our investment which in the end of the day we are doing by paying for the service and not being ripped off to line someone elses pockets, Leeds needs investment such as NGT light rail project to make a balance across the city.

May 2011



 
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