Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling has sparked fury after it emerged this week that bus services could be replaced by ride-hailing services.
Minutes from a meeting in October with the Chairman of the Local Government Association and the chair of its transport board revealed that Grayling has suggested that ride-hailing apps could be used to close the funding gap within the bus network, which has seen a fiscal reduction of 33%, whilst fare oncreases have exceeded inflation.
The Guardian reported that 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.”
Unite trade unions' Bobby Morton, stated “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.” whilst a spokesman for the Labour party added, the comments were the equivalent of telling people “let them take taxis” and that it was not the right way to address the chronic underfunding of bus services.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport 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.”