25 July 2014
Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses held a street stall outside of the Town Hall, Kidderminster to collect signatures for a petition to retain the England Bus Pass. So far, nearly 400 signatures have been collected. A second street stall is planned for Saturday 26th July.
The local campaigning group responded to a plea for support from Richard Worral, England Co-ordinator, National Pensioners Convention, in his recent letter to The Shuttle.
The group question the government’s claims that the current scheme is too expensive, and are protesting against the abandonment of the principle of universal entitlement. They assert that the introduction of means testing will be financially unviable and unnecessarily bureaucratic.
Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses was set up by local Green Party members to protest against Worcestershire County Council’s proposal to cut subsidies to socially necessary but economically unprofitable local bus services. Earlier this year they collected over 1000 signatures for their petition against Worcestershire County Council’s proposal to cut £3m in bus service subsidies, and were responsible for the record breaking 8,500 responses to the public consultation questionnaire.
Local bus campaigner and Wyre Forest Green Party member, Ronnie Lee, said, "Once again the government’s austerity cuts are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community the hardest. This bus pass is a lifeline for older people who do not drive. Without it they will not be able to access vital services and amenities. Pensioner use of public transport also helps to keep vital services running; maintaining jobs in this important industry. This benefits us all. It is well known that good public transport systems strengthen communities, improve health and reduce pollution from private vehicles. “
The Green Party is committed to serious investment in local public transport infrastructure. Its transport policies recognize the need to simplify fares for all public transport, with discounted fares for off-peak journeys and for those with low incomes. It supports free local transport for pensioners.