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Stagecoach wants post-Covid bus vision


15 May 2020

Bus operator Stagecoach has called for a joint strategy between industry and the Government to secure the bus sector’s future after the Covid-19 outbreak ends.

Chief executive Martin Griffiths outlined a six-point plan calling for:

  • a joint operational and investment plan developed by industry and Government to ensure Britain’s bus networks transition from the emergency levels of lockdown to more comprehensive links that support the country’s recovery. This should include transitional support for transport operators as passenger numbers take time to grow.
  • radical, permanent changes by national and local government to infrastructure and planning. Road and street space should be prioritised for walking, cycling and high capacity public transport over private cars, with a fundamental reallocation of limited space and steps to encourage first and last mile connections. ‘Mobility hubs’ rather than private car parking spaces should be requirements for planning new housing developments, offering public transport connectivity, electric charging points and cycling.
  • wide-ranging measures to deliver on the Government’s levelling up agenda for regions outside London, including new strategies for towns and cities to rethink high streets, promote local spending and create new attractions
  • lifestyle changes, particularly around travel, as well as a focus on technology to address the damaging impact of transport emissions. 
  • a ‘grown-up conversation’ to re-examine fiscal policy as the Government considers how to pay for the coronavirus pandemic and the necessary actions the country has taken. This would include a complete transformation in how transport journeys are taxed. A move to a system where the polluter pays and sustainable behaviours and use of buses, trams and trains, as well as active travel, are rewarded to make these modes more affordable and accessible to all. 
  • targeted investment in decarbonisation, including sustainable transport and infrastructure, to help restart the economy, put Britain at the forefront of the green revolution and speed up recovery. Maximising the potential of Britain's world-class and world-leading bus manufacturing sector by accelerating Government investment in electric bus fleets will deliver a cleaner environment, improved health and cement Britain's position as a clean-tech leader.

Griffiths cited market research by consultant SYSTRA suggesting that public transport use in Britain's cities could be 20 per cent lower than pre-Covid-19 levels after lockdown ends.

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