Green Party candidate for mayor, Daniella Radice, has today called for Bristol buses to be taken back into public ownership, noting the millions of pounds in profits leaking from the system to private companies.
Ms Radice said that she wants to deliver the working public transport system that the people of Bristol deserve, and that the only way to do this is to take back control:
"If we take the buses back into public ownership, the people of Bristol will be back in the driving seat. We pay over £3 million a year to subsidise First buses, yet fares are still extortionate, services run late, and all the profits leak out of the system into shareholders' pockets. The revenue from our buses should belong to the people of Bristol and be used to improve our transport. Through taking back the buses, we can give free travel for under 16s, and, yes, charge a fare of £1.50 on routes within the city."
The buses of Bristol were privatised in 1986 under the Thatcher government, and have been run by private firms ever since.
"Bristol was promised in 86' that a privatised bus system would lead to progress. This system has had 26 years to prove itself, but it has failed. It is time for a new approach. Profits gained can be ploughed into improving links, making timetable and route information clearer, and most importantly bringing fares down."
The Green Party says it hopes to deliver a joined up transport scheme for Bristol, which will unite the city. Their manifesto pledges efficient, reliable and well connected transport, at an affordable price, to rival systems like Transport For London.
Plans include improved local rail links, support for the Bristol metro, an emphasis on cycling and walking provision, feasibility studies for ultra light rail, a transport hub at Bristol Temple Meads to simplify connections, and, crucially, the formation of a transport authority in partnership with other neighbouring local authorities to make sure connections into Bristol are similarly of world class standard.