The Bus Users Group Stevenage (BUGS) held a ‘Question Time’ inspired discussion event on Friday 8th March, inviting the four main political parties in Stevenage; the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Labour.
The event was aimed at giving local BUGS members, and any members of the public, the opportunity to ask local party representatives their vision for local bus provision, and how in government, they would seek to make improvements and changes locally.
Despite around 40 members of the public attending, and that local political parties were invited to send representatives many weeks ago, only two parties sent someone along. From Labour, our Stevenage Parliamentary Candidate, Jill Borcherds, and the Liberal Democrat North Hertfordshire District Councillor for Royston.
Our Conservative MP – apparently true to form regarding public invitations to speak – wasn’t prepared to defend his own parliamentary record, or the actions of his government to local residents, (for those interested our MP’s voting record is one of supporting further privatisation which has led to higher costs to bus users and less control over services: https://bit.ly/2TEh96l). We unequivocally condemn his unaccountable retreat from public questioning; any local MP should make themselves available to attend these meetings as a priority, as well as his voting record in parliament.
However, this didn’t stop Jill from putting forward Labour’s greener, more affordable and accountable public transport system – ranging from public ownership of the railways, enhanced cycle routes, and locally controlled and cleaner bus services. Jill says, “the privatisation of our transport system must be ended and reversed; it has become unaffordable for so many people, and the frequency of services insufficient to meet our demand in Stevenage, for both bus and train services. The disaster this has created has meant that too many cars are on our roads, worsening air quality and driving climate change. We need to shift our focus towards green alternatives, such as more reliable and affordable public transport, cycling and walking where possible. This is only possible with well-funded, quality and accountable provision. Labour wants to revolutionise green transport, and give everyone decent local services, affordable to all and accountable to local people.”
You can find out more about Labour’s plans for local and national transport services here: https://bit.ly/2TsinlZ