Union RMT has rejected the Bus Services Bill, calling it a waste of public money and a move to prevent local authorities from running their own services.
It says that local authorities tend to operate cheaper and more widespread services, citing Reading, Edinburgh and Nottingham, and that they “generally treat staff more fairly too.” RMT says that under private operators jobs, pay and decent working conditions in the UK bus sector have taken a battering.
It also claims bus companies’ profits have received a “massive boost from cheaper fuel prices” with costs nearly 30% below recent averages, “and companies have used forward purchasing contracts to lock in these low prices until the end of the decade.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says: “The government is clearly terrified of local authorities running their own bus services. Local authorities owning, controlling and operating bus services more efficiently than the private sector blows a hole through their market-fixated philosophy.
“The government, by setting out in its draft bill that local authorities be forbidden from running bus services, while in the same bill facilitating greater local authority oversight, is incoherent.
“The shiny-faced management consultants that dreamt up this shake-up of the bus sector, have yet again wasted public money with one of the most pointless restructuring exercises yet.”