Labour Councillors call an Emergency Highways meeting about the city’s bus crisis
In response to Exeter’s ongoing bus crisis, Labour County and City Councillors have secured an emergency Highways meeting, as local residents fed up with a seriously failing service call for action.
County Council Labour Leader Cllr Rob Hannaford requested Devon County Council, as the transport authority, to hold a special meeting of the Exeter Highways Committee. The date of the meeting will be released soon by Devon County Council.
The meeting will be with bus operators, including Stagecoach, the city’s councillors, and will take questions and evidence from local people, unions and campaigners.
Cllr Hannaford said “I have called this meeting in response to the truly shocking state of bus services in and around Exeter. We have all been swamped with complaints and concerns for months, and enough is enough! It’s entirely appropriate that we call an emergency formal meeting in response to this crisis, as thousands of passengers are having their journeys disrupted and delayed every single day. We are not blaming our local drivers or managers, as they are doing their best under impossible circumstances, but we do have a leadership role to play, including looking at new ways to deliver better bus services.”
We must all continue to lobby government for reform of bus services; privatisation and deregulation have failed our communities and left us with a broken market. Now is the time for radical change, Council’s should have an increased control of services and service providers should be more accountable to the Council and to the public.
Cllr Phil Bialyk, Leader of Exeter City Council, backed the meeting request, and added “It’s clear that something must be done to improve our local buses. Exeter is the economic hub of Devon, and our vision for a thriving growing sustainable city, must include first class public transport, that is fundamentally based on a reliable, affordable, accessible bus service.”
Cllr Danny Barnes, County Councillor for Heavitree and Whipton Barton and the Vice Chair of the Exeter Highways Committee, adds:” Unless we can ensure a decent bus service in Exeter, that encourages local people to go car free, we are going to struggle to deliver our carbon reduction commitments, or Labour’s green vision for local communities. Residents want much less congestion and pollution, and a robust approach to the climate change emergency.”
Cllr Tracy Adams, County Councillor for Pinhoe and Mincinglake, who has been liaising with the new TEABAG campaign group adds: “I think its great that we now have this new campaign group in Exeter, that is providing a new focus on this very important issue. However it very telling that matters are now so unsatisfactory that local people felt the need to set it up.
I would urge all local residents to please continue to contact your local councillors with their concerns and issues, and we hope to use this meeting as the catalyst for change that bus users so desperately need.”