Greener Journeys yesterday (September 24) kicked off the first of three Party Conference fringe events with the Liberal Democrats in Brighton.
More than five billion journeys are made by bus every year and more people travel to work by bus than all other forms of public transport combined. Yet, there has up until now been an insufficient appreciation of the socio-economic value of the bus.
In July 2012, Greener Journeys launched a compelling report – Buses and Economic Growth – commissioned to fill this gap and quantify the contribution bus services make to economic growth and launched policy recommendations – Bus Policy: a five-point plan for growth. (September 17).
These fringe events – titled Britain’s Buses: Driving the Economy Forward (see below for details of the conferences) will provide an invaluable forum for discussing the conditions necessary to bolster the ability of buses to drive forward economic growth – through connecting people to job interviews, workplaces and businesses, encouraging retail and leisure spend, reducing road congestion and providing lifelines to vital services.
Without a public policy framework which supports the strong business case for the provision and enhancement of bus services, however, this massive potential will be stopped in its tracks. This vital debate considered the following:
- What steps can Government take to best help support the vital role of the bus in driving forward economic growth?
- According to the DfT’s own figures, congestion in urban areas currently costs £11bn of GDP – our report shows bus commuters contribute £64bn in GDP. What measures can be taken to reduce road congestion and encourage people to use their car less?
- Aside from the provision and quality of services, what steps could shift negative but outdated perceptions about bus travel?
- How can changes to land-use planning be implemented to reduce the need to travel and bring people, especially the workless, closer to job markets?
- What steps can Government take to encourage businesses to include buses in workplace travel plans?
- What can be done to make economic appraisal of bus schemes and infrastructure on a fairer playing field than motoring and road schemes?
Mon 24 Sep, 18.15-19.30 Thistle Hotel, The Tennyson Room, King’s Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2GS
Speakers: The Rt Hon Norman Baker MP, Under Secretary of State for Transport; Claire Haigh (Chair), Chief Executive, Greener Journeys; Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs, British Chambers of Commerce; Martin Dean, Managing Director, Bus Development, Go-Ahead; Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Passenger Focus
Labour (Invite only)
Speakers: Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport; Prof David Begg (Chair), Chief Executive, Transport Times; Mike Cooper, Managing Director, Arriva UK Regional Bus; Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs, British Chambers of Commerce; Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys
Mon 8 Oct, 17:30-19:00 Jurys Inn, Room 114, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HQ
Speakers: Paul Maynard MP, Member of Transport Select Committee; Prof David Begg (Chair), Chief Executive, Transport Times; Tim O’Toole, Chief Executive, FirstGroup; David Brown, Chief Executive, Go-Ahead; Claire Haigh; Chief Executive, Greener Journeys
About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a national campaign to boost bus and coach travel and encourage fewer car journeys. We aim to increase the value of bus and coach travel in stimulating economic growth, reducing congestion and CO2 emissions and enabling access to jobs, retail, leisure and vital services.
Launched in 2009, Greener Journeys is funded by Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead and Stagecoach on behalf of the wider industry and transport community. Major stakeholders are represented on the Greener Journeys Advisory Board including: Transport for London, RAC Foundation, Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG), and Campaign for Better Transport.