Right now, the Bus Services Bill is going through Parliament. It's great to see buses moving up the political agenda, but the Bill needs to be better. Your MP has the chance to improve the Bus Services Bill - but does (s)he really know what bus travel is like, and how important buses are?
Many MPs rarely use buses. Especially for those MPs who mostly drive or take the train, it’s hugely useful to see the reality of bus travel – and consider how the Bus Services Bill might improve buses in their area! Inviting your MP to discuss the Bus Services Bill is also a great way of generating media coverage of the Bill and making more people aware about the need for a strong Bill.
Here's a rough and ready guide to how to take your MP on a bus trip!
1) If you have any questions before you get in touch with your MP, please don't hesitate to email Lianna, email@example.com, or phone her on 020 7566 6489.
2) Write to your MP and invite them using the web form below. This will also send a message to us here at Campaign for Better Transport. Personalising your message by referring to your area by name, and including your own experience of buses, will make your email more powerful.
3) Think about which bus you'd like to take and where you’d like to go. Your MP might have a clear idea of where she or he would like to travel – for example, to take the bus to a meeting or to their constituency office. Where will you get on? Where will you get off? How long will the journey be? Are there any issues you’d like to point out on the way?
4) Invite others - a group of people will have more impact than just one person. Perhaps you're in contact with a local transport action group, an older people's organisation or a residents' association with an interest in frequent, reliable buses. Our Local Groups webpage lists many local transport groups.
5) We'll get in touch and offer to help out with your trip, for example by putting you in touch with local bus campaigners in your area, by helping you get media coverage, by sending you signs to hold up in the photos, or by talking over the main changes we're asking for in the Bus Services Bill. We’re also interested in coming to join some of those taking this action! (If your MP hasn't replied to you after a week you might like to phone their constituency office to politely chase them!)
Down at the bottom of this page you'll see the main changes we are asking for in the Bus Services Bill.
- Enabling community groups to nominate bus routes as an Asset of Community Value. This would ensure that any bus routes designated as Assets of Community Value would have a six month moratorium on closing them, to allow time to find an alternative.
- Strengthening the duty on local authorities to carry out an Assessment of Need for public transport services in their area. Buses aren’t an end in themselves – they’re there to ensure that people can reach work, school, shops and healthcare. There’s already a duty on local authorities in caselaw to carry out an Assessment of Need for public transport, and to, where possible, meet this need, but too often, it’s ignored. The Bus Services Bill is an opportunity to clarify that bus services are there to serve local people; and thereby protect bus routes that connect people to education, employment and public services.
- Ensuring that all local authorities automatically have the full range of powers to plan their bus services and manage their traffic, not just those areas with an elected mayor. We think that every local authority should be able to choose how best to manage buses, and enforce traffic offences, in the way that’s best for their area.
- An Investment Strategy for buses. Rail, road, cycling and walking all have a Government investment strategy. We think that if the Government is serious about growing bus passenger numbers, it needs to give buses the same recognition as every other form of public transport, and enable local authorities and bus operators to plan for the long term.