Thursday, December 08, 2022

Market Harborough buses under threat from Conservative chaos

Some bus routes serving Market Harborough could be scrapped because of the the budget crisis facing Leicestershire County Council.

HFM News, with a clip from an interview with Liberal Democrat councillor Simon Galton, reports:

The authority has warned its financial outlook is ‘dire’ and ahead of budget proposals being made public next week, some details have been shared with councillors.

Cuts could be made to bus services subsidised by the authority, which include the number 33 town service in Market Harborough and route 44, which links the town with Foxton and Fleckney.

Conservatives are now a complete shambles. Only last year the government announced a £3bn scheme to improve bus services outside London.

We were promised hundreds of miles of new bus lanes, fares with daily price caps so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need, more services in the evenings and at weekends, integration with train tickets and that all buses would accept contactless payments.

The Guardian caught the rapturous tone of the announcement:

The DfT said it expected to see local authorities and operators working together to deliver bus services so frequent that passengers could just "turn up and go" - no longer needing to rely on a traditional timetable and no longer having to wait more than a few minutes.

Boris Johnson said: "Just as they did in London, our reforms will make buses the transport of choice, reducing the number of car journeys and improving quality of life for millions."

Leicestershire County Council did put in a £58m for more government funding for bus services earlier this year, apparently because it "lacked ambition".

How things have turned out is a classic illustration of Boris Johnson's ability to identify issues that matter to voters and his inability to be arsed to do anything about them, and also of the damage done by too many changes at 10 and 11 Downing Street.

Because Market Harborough is not alone in facing cuts to its bus services. 

Back in July, the Guardian reported that at least 135 bus routes across England were due to be cut or scrapped altogether.

And in case you thought "levelling up" would save the North of England from cuts, 25 routes in Liverpool and 40 across the North East were affected.

But that's the modern Conservative Party for you. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand's doing, and you can be sure that, if it ever finds out, it will do its best to stop it.


crewegwyn said...

I do rather hope the bid was for £58 million ?

Jonathan Calder said...

It was, but maybe £58 billion would have been better received?