By Hugh Jaeger 28 June 2012

Despite a stated aim to reduce carbon emissions from transport the Government is still pursuing policies that favour car use over public transport use.

On 26 June the Chancellor announced that the 2012 fuel duty increase, originally planned to be 5p per litre, later reduced to 3p per litre, would be scrapped altogether. Yet only in April it effectively increased the fuel duty for buses by a massive 20%.
Bus Services Operators Grant, which used to be called Fuel Duty Rebate, effectively reduces the duty bus companies pay for their fuel and therefore reduces the cost of bus travel. In April the rebate was slashed from 80% to 64%, leading to widespread fares rises for bus passengers.

For most local journeys, buses are the most viable alternative to cars. Getting more people to use buses reduces congestion and emissions. Buses are good for the economy, for the environment and for social inclusion. Yet all three advantages are being eroded by a policy that forces up bus fares while at the same time car users are encouraged to continue driving.

“We accept the need to stimulate the economy” said Bus Users UK general manager Stephen Morris “but we need a level playing field for those who travel by a more sustainable means and the millions who for whatever reason cannot use a car. Stopping rises in fuel duty for car users but putting it up for bus users doesn’t seem like a Government committed to a greener economy.”
And Bus Users UK Oxford Group Chairman Hugh Jaeger said “Fuel prices will continue to spiral because World demand is increasing rapidly but supply is not. Many people’s incomes are static or falling so they are reducing or giving up car use. There are indications that some are switching from cars to buses for hardship reasons. Treasury-engineered fare rises will hit the poorest the hardest.”

Jaeger added “The Coalition’s cut in bus fuel duty rebate is saving only £17.4 million. How can it justify this and then forfeit about 30 times that amount by freezing petrol and diesel duty? The bus fuel rebate was always 100% until the last Conservative government drastically cut it 20 years ago. If the Coalition wants to be ‘the greenest government ever’ it should restore the rebate to 100%.”

Bus Users UK is a non-statutory body founded in 1985 as the National Federation of Bus Users to represent bus passengers in the liberalisation and privatisation of bus services outside London.
Its aims are:
• To strengthen the voice of bus users in the discussion of public transport issues
• To increase bus passengers’ influence on local and national decisions affecting bus services
• To develop good communication between bus companies and their passengers
Its membership is mainly bus passengers, but its work has been recognised by the industry such that it also is represented in most major bus companies (outside London) and local authorities.
It is a partner in the Bus Appeals Body, which helps passengers whose legitimate complaints about bus services have not been resolved. Bus Users UK organises Bus Users’ Surgeries in towns throughout Britain for bus passengers to voice concerns directly to bus managers.

For further information please contact:
Hugh Jaeger, Chairman ( (01865) 554814 È (07762) 093310
Bus Users UK Oxford Group :
 1st Aerials Oxford




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