Letter: Evidence-based decision-making on public transport

Once again the public and soon to be “strong man leader” Mayor and his hand-picked four just men (no one non-white, no women) are faced with the reality of weak, vapid leadership, without vision.
Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris EtchellsDan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells
Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells

The news that bus journeys in South Yorkshire have dropped to 52 million when before deregulation there were 250m a year should force an urgency to address this social, environmental, pollution and cost of living disaster.

Instead it’s met with indifference and ideological resistance to challenge this appalling situation.

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In 2018, ex Mayor Dan Jarvis’s manifesto pledged (p24 ) “…consult on re-regulating buses and fight to ensure greater staff and passenger involvement in decision-making about our public transport system.”

Sheffield buses.Sheffield buses.
Sheffield buses.

I’ve previously highlighted the floundering around bus services by both mayors and the huge amounts of money wasted propping up another failed privatisation and how it’s essential that evidence-based, rather than failed ideology-based, decisions need making.

As Dan Jarvis recognised, deregulation is the problem so re-regulation MUST be the intelligent and only way forward.

Despite the Mayor’s role being apolitical, with the needs of constituents trumping that of party loyalty, we are acutely aware – as I’ve previously pointed out and not denied by the Mayor – that Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation ideology from the 1980s when her Tory government was in power for 11 years, is still the driving force behind his and his cabinet’s actions.

Clearly, with buses, it’s been a massive failure.

So why insist on repeating that failure?

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Jarvis’s observation was accurate – we need the 1985 and 2017 bus acts to be repealed.

With 11 Labour MP’s in South Yorkshire and strong Labour representation in Manchester, Liverpool and the North East, powerful evidence-based parliamentary activity to repeal the acts and allow metro Mayors the right to own and run municipal bus services according to the needs and involvement of the people is urgently essential.

With the summer recess about to give MP’s a three-month break they all need to convene a summit to address the issues of buses as a mass transit solution to climate change and, ‘ensure greater staff and passenger involvement in decision-making about our public transport system’.

What we don’t need is just five part-time men.

Mike Smith

Park Grove, S70