Chris Grayling: Replace local buses with ‘Uber-style’ rides
The future of local buses is a more bespoke, ‘Uber-style’, service, according to the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Mr Grayling’s comments were revealed in the minutes of an October meeting with Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, and Martin Tett, the chair of its transport board.
Grayling “suggested that the nature of bus provision is likely to change over the coming years, with more Uber-style, demand-led services replacing traditional services”.
Local bus fares have grown above inflation in recent years as funding in England and Wales has been cut 33% since 2010.
Labour criticised Mr Grayling’s suggestion. Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “For many people, especially the young and the elderly, those living in rural areas and those who do not own a car, bus services are a lifeline.
“But rather than addressing the buses crisis, Chris Grayling’s solution is to say ‘let them take taxis’. Nobody wants to see Uber replacing local bus services except Chris Grayling.”
Bobby Morton, Unite’s national officer for passenger transport, said: “In Grayling’s warped view of the UK’s transport needs, he now sees an unregulated and expensive bus service, probably only operating at peak times, as the transport holy grail. He is completely out of touch with ordinary people and their daily transport needs.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Like all modes of transport, technology is changing how we travel and can offer better and more flexible journeys for all commuters.
“Buses are vital for communities, connecting people, homes and businesses and we have given councils extra powers to work in partnership with bus companies to improve the service passengers expect and deserve.”