Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

Be bold or Covid will dictate industry’s future, says Bray

12 June 2020
Jonathan Bray: buses must grasp the green agenda for recovery
Jonathan Bray: buses must grasp the green agenda for recovery

 

The green agenda could be key to the bus industry’s recovery after Covid-19 recedes, said Jonathan Bray, director of the Urban Transport Group, which represents the city-region transport authorities in England. 

 “So where we are now  Well, as we all know, we’ve got rid of most of the passengers. The industry is now nearly entirely public funded in our areas, mostly by local government.”

Bray shared operators’ concerns that the messaging from Government may have lasting damage for public perceptions of bus travel. “We’re in danger of demonising the mode in a way that sticks in people’s minds that might be hard to [change] later,” he said.

“I think during the restart and recovery phase, the industry is probably going to have to super-demonstrate on hygiene. And when I say the industry, I think public transport as a whole. There’s obviously some very good practice, but are we in a space where we need a guarantee?”

Turning to the way the bus industry was currently being supported, Bray said: “I think we need to reorganise the funding in a way that recognises the reality. At the moment local government is being asked to reimburse for concessionary passengers that aren’t travelling and for supported services that aren’t running. 

“There is a better way of doing this by routing the funding via the city regions. That also enables you to better plan public transport as a whole.” 

The UTG has so far failed to persuade the Government to adopt this approach.

Looking to the future of the bus industry, Bray said: “I think moving on to the future is going to be tough. It wasn’t looking too great for the bus in many ways before Covid-19 in terms of what was happening on travel trends.

“So if we carry on doing what we did before, we start from a much lower base, and it’s not hard to see what the consequences of that might be. 

“I think most politicians are saying that they want the economic revival to be a green economic revival. And central to that, I believe, is greening the grid and electrification. And that includes greening the bus and having a consistent strategy for that rather than finding the money to do it when it’s available.

“I think the final thing I would say is, if we can’t be bold now, then when are we going to do it? 

“And if we don’t think big and we don’t think bold, then the legacy of Covid-19 will determine our future rather than us determining that future.”

 
 
Strategy Programme Manager - Implementation
Hertfordshire County Council
Hertford
£34,788 - £42,683 + £2000 market forces payment p.a.
Strategy Programme Manager - Implementation
Hertfordshire County Council
Hertford
£34,788 - £42,683 + £2000 market forces payment p.a.
Strategy Programme Manager – Strategy
Hertfordshire County Council
Hertford
£34,788 - £42,683 + £2,000 market forces payment p.a
View all Vacancies
 
Search
 

TransportXtra is part of Landor LINKS

© 2020 TransportXtra | Landor LINKS Ltd | All Rights Reserved

Subscriptions, Magazines & Online Access Enquires
[Frequently Asked Questions]
Email: subs.ltt@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7959

Shop & Accounts Enquires
Email: accounts@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7855

Advertising Sales & Recruitment Enquires
Email: daniel@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7861

Events & Conference Enquires
Email: conferences@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7865

Press Releases & Editorial Enquires
Email: info@transportxtra.com | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7875

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Advertise

Web design sussex by Brainiac Media 2020