Give cash-starved councils funds to pay for proper public transport
Wednesday 1 May: The Scottish and Welsh governments have each declared a climate emergency; in Westminster Parliament are debating a (non-binding) climate emergency motion calling for changes to many areas of our lives including transport.
Michael Gove speaks of “a sense of urgency about the challenge in front of us and a determination to take action in the future”.
Meanwhile, in Oswestry I’m at my usual bus stop intending to take my usual 79A bus to Llanrhaeadr-YM. A notice on the bus shelter informs me that Tanat Valley have lost the contract for the 17.05 service to Llanrhaeadr-YM. It’s been awarded to Arriva and from 1 May the service will terminate at the bottom of Blodwell Bank – just over 8 miles from Llanrhaeadr-YM. And it’s raining. Heavily.
I use public transport whenever possible because it reduces the amount of fossil fuels being burnt, and CO2 in the atmosphere. And yet public transport is being cut throughout Shropshire, Powys and the rest of the country.
I don’t blame the bus companies – they have to make a living within a regime of cuts to transport subsidies. I don’t blame Shropshire and Powys councils – they have been progressively starved of funds and forced to make increasingly savage cuts to essential services. What I do blame is the continuing dogma of austerity promoted by the current government.
We are facing a climate emergency. We need to put climate mitigation at the forefront of all decision making. This isn’t about one person left standing in the rain at the bottom of Blodwell Bank waiting for a lift home. It’s about a sustainable future, including a transport system that serves the population and reduces unnecessary car use.
It’s about providing a public transport system that enables people to get to and from work. It’s about national government recognising Michael Gove’s “sense of urgency” and taking action not “in the future” but now. Now is the time to put money back into local government so that they can support a public transport system that supports the people and the planet.
Janet King, Penybontfawr
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