As the fire and bluster of the general election gathers momentum, across the nation, it struck me that ironically the bus industry has probably never been in a better position than it is today. The reason being that both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have for the first time that I can recall, both agreed that the bus has a major part to play in both the battle against toxic emissions, urban congestion, and economic development. The obvious solution to these massive and destructive woes is the good old British bus. The industry has asked for a long time for a national bus strategy, and low and behold, here we are listening to the Chancellor of the Exchequer endorsing both the role of the bus, and the need to invest in both greener vehicles and infrastructure and even more important effective bus priority to support bus based traffic flow.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport have recently issued a call to arms that we should engage at a local, regional, and national level to promote the case for the bus across the United Kingdom. I have to say that I agree with the organisation, the timing has never been better, there genuinely seems to be some real political desire to use the bus as the solution, rather than it be too often lambasted as the problem. The truth in my view is that the bus has always offered the answer, but we have been notoriously slow in actively promoting the message. Indeed our PR profile has many years been virtually invisible, and I have to take my hat off to both CPT, and Martin Dean from the Go Ahead group, who as Chair of CPT helped to lead the charge. Equally industrious has been the role of the Policy team at CILT, there are many who have contributed but I will single out Daniel Parker-Klein, John Carr, Ben Coulson, and Andrew Hunter. My apologies if I have left people out, but from my own personnel view these guys have been immense in adding value to the big debate.
What really matters now is that members of the Industry, heed the call, and start lobbying on a local level. Elected members as well as MP’s in my view, need to understand how important it is to get out there and put the message across. If we do not then my worry is that a real chance will be lost, that I doubt that will never repeat itself. So, if you are not sure what to do, or how to do it, then just check out the CPT website or contact them directly. It will be interesting to see just what will happen on December 13th when we find out who will be back in number ten Downing Street, But it is vital that we continue to promote and advocate the cause for the bus, we have an obligation and dare I say it, a duty, a once in a lifetime chance that I urge you dear reader to accept, and do your bit.