Bringing Tees Transport into 21st Century

Jessie Joe Jacobs Tees Travel plans will bring public transport system into the 21st Century

Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour’s mayoral hopeful for Tees Valley, has announced her exciting plans to drastically overhaul and improve public transport in the region, putting buses centre stage of her plans.

Buses in Tees Valley are in dire need of a shake-up with figures revealing bus services are being reduced, journeys are down while fares continue to rise. Jessie’s ambitious proposals would look at options for the public to have more control over fares, time-tabling and routes as part of a London-style transport network.

Jessie’s vision for a Tees Travel integrated system would include revamping buses, increasing train journey numbers, introducing new stations and radically improving cycle-ways, bringing public transport in Teesside into the 21st century.

Setting out her plans in Hartlepool, with Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary and Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald, Jessie’s pledges for buses include: capping fares, more and better bus routes, as well as greener and cleaner buses and trains. The exploration of options for Britain’s first Hydrogen train being piloted here in the Tees Valley, is also on the cards.

Figures show that across the Tees Valley, bus usage is down across the region year on year, with Middlesbrough seeing the largest drop in bus journeys with a 2.6m decrease from 2009/2010 to 2017/18. Other figures from the Department for Transport also show that nationally, local bus fares in England increased by 71% between March 2005 and March 2018, with the average increase in fares higher than the average annual rate of inflation.

Jessie Joe Jacob’s, Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said:

“From Hartlepool to Guisborough, I’m told of bus services that have been dropped, leaving communities and particularly older people cut off and isolated. It has been a long and slow decline, at a time when we should be moving towards more and better public transport use in our efforts to reduce our climate impact.

“For too long Tees Valley has had to put up with second-class disjointed bus service. Big bus companies have been getting away with these cuts without any challenge from the current mayor.

“How can it be fair that you can spend £1.50 standard price to travel across London but in Tees Valley it can cost so much more to make even short journeys. Fares are going up at the same time as bud routes are being cut.

“The Tees Valley is falling further and further behind when it comes to public transport. While other Metro Mayors across the UK are pushing forward creating integrated, greener and more efficient bus networks. Now is the time to tackle this issue head on, which will start with having some bravery in standing up to the big bus companies. We need the mayor to use the powers we have and sort out this failing system once and for all.

“The current Tory Mayor is more interested in how long it takes people to fly to Alicante where I’m worried about making sure people can get to work and to the shops.

“My Tees Travel plans would revolutionise our public transport system, integrating buses, trains and cycle-ways making them fit for the 21st Century.”

Similar public transport schemes have been set up by Labour-controlled councils to great success in Nottingham, Reading and Blackpool. Labour-run Greater Manchester and Liverpool Combined Authorities are also in the process of looking at ways to re-regulate their bus network.

As Mayor, Jessie will commission a study on how to create an integrated bus, train and cycle-way system – looking at different options to re-regulate bus services locally and bring them more in-line a London-style network. After a thorough study and public consultation, Jessie will select the model which will best deliver for Teessiders.

Notes to editors:
· Bus services outside of London have struggled since the system was deregulated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

· London has re-regulated its system, with typical profits for bus companies in the capital 3% but 19% in the North. According to an analysis by FAME, in the financial year 2015-2016, Cleveland Transit Ltd (Stagecoach) profits were 19.6%. If Cleveland Transit Ltd (Stagecoach) profit was cut from 13.0% (3.9m) to the London level of 3.8% (£1.1m) through an equivalently efficient management of franchising, the saving would be £2.4m per year.

· Passenger journeys by bus by Local Authority info https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus01-local-bus-passenger-journeys

· Local bus fare increase info https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/774565/annual-bus-statistics-year-ending-mar-2018.pdf