Labour sets out plan to deliver better bus services across Harlow

News / Sun 14th Apr 2024 at 07:45am

LABOUR’S shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh MP, has yesterday set out the party’s plans for a better bus network across the East of England, with a promise to allow every community to take back control of local bus services.

Labour’s plan could create and save up to 139 vital bus routes and support 22 million more passenger journeys per year across the East of England compared to today’s failed system. It will also bring an end to the postcode lottery of bus services by providing safeguards over local networks across the country.

The plan will also see better buses delivered faster, with the franchising process done in as little as 2 years, compared to the 6-year slog endured by Greater Manchester due to the unnecessary barriers imposed by central government.

Since buses were deregulated in 1985, bus services in England have collapsed, with thousands of services cut and 35.83 million fewer miles driven by buses across the East of England per year since 2010, a fall of 31.4%. 

Labour’s plans will ensure better value for money for the taxpayer, deliver a better service for passengers and give local authorities a choice over the bus system that works best for them. It will require no additional central government spending.

Where bus franchising is in place, in London and Greater Manchester, buses have thrived. Greater Manchester has improved reliability and significantly grown passenger numbers less than a year after bus franchising went live.[i]

Labour has announced it will pass new legislation to support local transport authorities to take back control of their bus services and has set out a five-point plan to deliver better buses. Labour will:

1.   Empower local transport authorities and reform funding: by giving local leaders more control and flexibility over bus funding and allowing them to plan ahead to deliver their local transport priorities.

2.   Allow every community to take back control of their buses: by removing barriers that currently limit bus franchising powers only to metropolitan mayors.

3.   Accelerate the bus franchising process:by supporting local leaders to deliver better buses, faster.

4.   Step in to safeguard local bus networks:by providing more accountability over bus operators and ensuring standards are raised wherever you live across the country.

5.   Support public ownership: by removing the Conservatives’ ideological ban on publicly owned bus companies and building on the success of award-winning public bus services still in operation.

Labour’s candidate Chris Vince for Harlow said:

“ It is no secret that buses in Harlow are failing. Passengers are regularly left at the bus stop, with intermittent schedules and closing of bus routes. Putting buses back into the service of people will deliver desperately needed change in Harlow. 

This is something I hear regularly on the doorstep, so I am glad that we now have the chance to convey our plan for bus services and to advocate the change a Labour government will make for the lives of people in Harlow.”

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh, said:

“Reliable, affordable and regular buses are the difference between opportunity and isolation for millions of people across the country.

“Four decades of disastrous deregulation of Britain’s buses has robbed communities of a say over the vital services that they depend on, instead handing power to unaccountable private operators who have slashed services.

“Labour will give every community the power to take back control of their bus services, and will support local leaders to deliver better buses, faster.

“Labour’s plans will create and save vital routes and services, end today’s postcode lottery of bus services, and kickstart a revival of bus services across England.”

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15 Comments for Labour sets out plan to deliver better bus services across Harlow:

David Carter
2024-04-14 08:01:02

More Buses are certainly needed But what’s missing is how are they going to be paid for. Is Labour going to fund these across the country.?

2024-04-14 10:24:21

If a bus route is not profitable no bus company will run that service it's as simple as that. What company would provide a service at a loss? On top of that some services in Harlow had to be adapted due to the parking within the roads they went down and the parking of other vehicles made all most impossible for the buses to pass safely. If the county council, Harlow council and the bus operators worked together for things like road works accidents and broken down buses residents would be better informed

2024-04-14 12:22:34

Tony Blair had some big ideas - The minimum wage, Civil Partnerships and the Good Friday Agreement - This lot want to ‘Allow every community to take back control of their buses’ - It is so depressing that this clueless lot are the only option on the table - Can’t we just rejoin the EU, so we all have a bit more money in our pockets and the government has enough money in its coffers to offer us a little more than these hollow words!

2024-04-14 12:48:57

Can we just remove the bus lanes, rip up the chicanes etc on London road and let people actually drive. Ross there should be no such thing as the minimum wage it is a disaster and as for the EU we are better off our of it, but the exit was badly implemented. Tony Blair is the architect of everything that is wrong with this country from high house prices to illegal wars and a economy based on anything but doing anything productive

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-14 12:50:13

Ross, the fact is HGGT and the builders of the huge developments around Harlow are banking on bus companies providing good, reliable bus services in order to keep residents from using their car. In this case, the Harlow Alliance Party are happy to say they share the vision of the Labour Party for a new future for bus services. In Harlow, the Council's bus users group was disbanded some time ago, surely the council needs to talk to those who use buses in order to help improve the service. For many people, using a bus is a very important part of daily life.

2024-04-14 14:49:41

Suggested new route. Town Centre - Harlow Town Station - Queensgate Centre - Tesco Edinburgh Way- Harlow Mill Station - Old Harlow - The Stow - Town Centre.

Mr Bryan J Rowley
2024-04-14 14:50:58

More bus to Edinburgh way

2024-04-14 17:38:39

Direct link between Staple Tye and Potter Street. One hourly service on Sundays.

2024-04-14 18:08:34

Adam, the first underground railway was built because of the traffic congestion. When you say "let everybody drive", do you really think that would be possible if there were no trains or buses?

2024-04-14 18:33:17

The big question is whether public transport should be a public service or a profit making venture. The present business model treats it as a profit making venture with no service aspect with no consideration for a bigger picture, like fewer bus journeys presumably mean more car journeys, more pollution, more congestion, more roads etc. Modern electric buses will be less polluting (i hope) on our roads, more buses means fewer cars etc. There is a also a massive social aspect to this, buses seem to be used a lot by lower income groups who are the first to suffer when services are cut but who are vital to our well being. They also perhaps employ technically unskilled people perhaps. David Carter, you asked who will pay? The obvious answer is the passengers but I would go a step further sand say that pensioners (like me) with bus passes should also contribute, either by paying for their bus pass or at a discounted rate for their journey. The service may need to be subsidized but I would argue that this would be the price for the wider benefits. Some routes will make money-I was amazed to find out how busy the airport bus from Harlow was at 4am including Ryan air staff. So labour, please go ahead with this it is just the ticket. Corbyn had a similar policy i believe.

2024-04-14 19:52:59

Need enough bus between in Harlow Town and Pinnacle especially on Saturday and Sunday at least morning and evening. At present conditions poor service.

Kim osborn
2024-04-14 20:30:10

Just put back buses where they are needed like the no 9 along tumbler rd. having to get the no 10 on second avenue at Latton farm is a danger to paying customers. Why make people use a dangerous stop that has no crossing nearby or any shelter in bad weather when they could reinstate a service that is safe for the young and elderly minutes away 😡

2024-04-14 21:47:10

Adam's comments make me laugh, what a hoot he is!

Mike Marshall
2024-04-15 00:51:32

Having Essex County Council responsible for Harlow's bus services would not fill me with confidence. Many services have been reduced due to their lack of support, Sunday buses are a joke.

2024-04-15 05:54:16

Totally agree with you Adam. As for Tony B. Should be dome for War C

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