Stagecoach, the UK's biggest bus, tram and coach operator, is backing a new national campaign driven by sustainable transport charity, Campaign for Better Transport, launched on Wednesday 19th May, to encourage people back on board.
As the country comes out of the long lockdown and people are starting to get back to the things they enjoy doing, the campaign highlights the crucial role that public transport will play in re-connecting communities, safeguarding the economic future of the UK and supporting a green recovery.
The Way Forward campaign is calling on the Government to support public transport by actively encouraging people to use buses, trains, coaches and trams as restrictions ease, and introducing an incentive scheme to help boost passenger numbers as part of a national plan to place public transport at the heart of a green recovery. The campaign is being launched today outside the House of Lords. Alongside Campaign for Better Transport, Stagecoach will also be supporting the campaign in Liverpool with a special double-decker bus outside Liverpool Lime Street on Thursday 20 May.
Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach, said: "We're pleased to be supporting the launch of the new The Way Forward campaign with Campaign for Better Transport. Buses have been absolutely critical during the pandemic in helping to keep the country moving and will continue to play a major role in safeguarding the country's economic future.
"Bus operators have proven that they have the right safety measures in place to provide customers with confidence to travel as the country reopens, including frequent extensive cleaning, clean air filters and more ventilation on buses, encouraging contactless payments and introducing new technology to help customers find quieter buses.
“As we look to a brighter future, there is now a huge opportunity to deliver a green recovery by encouraging people to replace many regular short car journeys with greener public transport, walking and cycling. This will help to tackle climate change, improve air quality in our communities and contribute to a healthier nation.”
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The events of the last year have made people less confident about using public transport, but as restrictions continue to ease, we all need to start getting back on board. That’s why we’ve launched this campaign to urge the Government to reassure people that public transport is safe again and to introduce a national scheme of discounted fares to encourage people to use it. By getting back on board we can all help to reduce congestion, protect the environment and boost the economy in a way that is fair and sustainable.”
As more workplaces, shops and businesses reopen in the coming months, campaigners argue it will be crucial that people return to public transport to avoid increased congestion and air pollution, and help communities recover. To protect public transport services both now and in the long term, and encourage people back on board, The Way Forward campaign is calling on the Government to:
- Lead the way with a national campaign that encourages people to see public transport as a safe way to travel and to launch an incentive scheme that helps to get people back on board
- Continue the emergency financial support for public transport services until passenger numbers have recovered
- Place public transport at the heart of a green recovery with a passenger-centred approach to getting people back on board. Public transport needs to evolve to suit new ways of working and living to offer a genuine alternative to the private car. It needs to be easier and simpler to pay for with contactless payments as standard and multi-modal tickets that can be used on buses and trains, and more affordable with flexible tickets that fit new travel patterns
- Protect services and renew the public transport system by restoring lost rail links and reconnecting communities to the network.
Mr Tuohy added: “A public transport network shaped around passengers that provides the services people need, at a price they afford, as we adapt to new ways of working and living is crucial to rebuilding the economy and tackling climate change. By placing public transport at the heart of its transport policy the Government can make sure we all have access to easy, convenient and affordable journeys no matter where we live.”
For more information on the Campaign For Better Transport click here: www.the-way-forward.org