The 2017 Bus Services Act would allow KCC to franchise routes (with the agreement of the Transport Minister). We will lobby for this.
KCC needs an integrated transport policy and research on bus need to back up their route franchises.
KCC also needs to abolish the Dover Quality Bus Partnership (DBQP) and replace it with an enhanced bus quality partnership which will have more powers of oversight.
The new DQBP should contain genuine stakeholders representing real interests not just councillors and representatives of the local private bus monopoly. The meeting’s minutes should be made public.
More bus travel would improve air quality as well as improving our quality of life. A restoration of KCC subsidy is not enough. We need a policy of bus franchising so routes are set by KCC.
The problems with bus services were caused by bus privatisation and the creation of a completely free market in bus transport introduced in 1985. Since then bus journeys outside of London have declined by 37 percent whilst prices have increased by more than 45 percent in real terms.
We now have a patchwork of private monopolies. Private bus companies have no need to consult or even inform either KCC or DDC.
The truth is that KCC has no integrated transport policy.
They discuss subsidies when the bus company tells them a service is making a loss.
Recently Stagecoach has cut profitable routes to make overall journey times faster, leaving many communities without a bus.
It is an accepted axiom by economists that monopolies have an interest in restricting supply to increase prices. By contrast in London buses are franchised by London Buses Ltd. and fares are controlled by the Mayor. Here bus travel has more than doubled since 1985.
This is the model DDGP would like to see KCC adopting in Kent – London has Transport for London (TfL) and we need a similar transport authority in Kent.
We would use these powers to ensure buses are hybrid/pure EV with wifi, phone charging points etc, and introduce display panels giving information about bus arrivals.
This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:
- Action on Climate Emergency
- Open Government
- Improving Democracy
- Value for Money
- Policies to Support Local Business
- Planning Policy that Works
- No to Fracking
- Yes to support for electric cars
- A Plastics Free Council
- Ending Live animal exports
- Better Air Quality
- Support for Bus Transport
- Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
- Universal Credit and Other Benefits