Bridget Phillipson MP uses Westminster debate to press for local bus shake-up

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson has called for north east local authority leaders to vote on 21 October to take back control of local bus provision in the region to help support Sunderland businesses and their employees.

On 15 October the MP sponsored a Westminster Hall debate on transport in the north east, during which she appealed to the North East Combined Authority to vote in favour of introducing a London-style Quality Contracts Scheme for regional bus operators at its next meeting.

The proposed scheme will take back powers over bus fares, timetables and routes and bus operators will bid for the right to run services.

Bridgethighlighted the inadequacies of local bus services in Sunderland and explained how this was affecting the city’s economic prosperity.

She focused on Doxford International Business Park, explaining how employees there are forced to come to work much earlier than their shift begins and literally have to run to catch the last bus home.

Bridget also attacked the bus operators for putting profit ahead of providing a public service and drew attention to Nexus estimates that the introduction of a Quality Contracts Scheme will save taxpayers millions of pounds.

At thedebate Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“Next week, the North East combined authority will decide whether to introduce a quality contract scheme in Tyne and Wear. I am calling on its members to press ahead and make the change that we need.

The new system would have routes set by the transport authority, with bus operators bidding to run services in an open competition. Not only would we see real competition for the first time, but we would have a simple fare system with Oyster-style ticketing, under which average annual fare increases would be no more than the retail prices index.

I constantly hear from local people who struggle to get to work easily, especially shift workers in places such as Doxford international business park, where many thousands are based.

Visitors and staff at Doxford Park make an important contribution to our local economy, and they should be able to expect a fair, reliable and efficient bus service.”

The full text of Bridget’s speech and complete record of the debate can be found here:

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