Buses And Brexit….Not A Lot To Say
The first group of speakers at the Bus Summit were an impressive collection to be fair they included Val Shawcross CBE , the Deputy Mayor for London who opened up the debate about Brexit by making an excellent presentation on the present state of the London Bus scene with all its present challenges and opportunities. Val managed to give the whole 30 minute speech without once ever saying the word Brexit or indeed making no reference to it what so ever.
Mind you I did learn a lot about London such as Sadiq Khan`s dad was a London Bus driver, which explains a lot. I also learned that there has been a gradual decline in bus use within the city centre of London due to slower journey times and more people using the underground.Val did however feel confident that there was still bus growth to be had but in the suburbs.To be frank my real concern is that the London bus network has been world leading for the last 30 years because it was funded with all revenues being put back into the network, creating a cycle of continuous improvement that really did achieve great things.
Sadly with the Mayor cutting all bus subsidy by 2020 I do not think that the network will survive, but I stand to be proved wrong. Next up was Humza from Scotland, I thought that he was great he was well-informed, quite funny,and came over really well. His concern about Brexit was sharp and honest.What he said was that Scotland and the UK has really benefited from EU migration and by leaving we would scare good workers off as they would not be sure if they could remain.
He also spoke well about the crippling effects of congestion and how journey times across Glasgow have been halved since 2000, due to increased car ownership. He also complained about prehistoric bus ticketing systems such as First only having a fare box for th exact change. Humza made the point that he can control his house room temperature with an App on his phone anytime anywhere, but in Glasgow you had to have the right change.
So ,all in all good value for money so far and that was just the start.