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Sunderland passengers call for buses to be brought back under public control

(l to r) Paul Baker from the Public Transport User's Group (PTUG), Vicki Gilbert Chair of the PTUG, Helmut Izaks were joined by MP Bridgett Philipson in the Market Square as part of their campaign for quality contracts with the bus companies.

(l to r) Paul Baker from the Public Transport User's Group (PTUG), Vicki Gilbert Chair of the PTUG, Helmut Izaks were joined by MP Bridgett Philipson in the Market Square as part of their campaign for quality contracts with the bus companies.

CAMPAIGNERS hoping for changes to bus services met in Sunderland City Centre in an effort to gather support to lobby decision makers.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson joined members of Sunderland Transport Users’ Group (STUG) and Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Users’ Group (TWPTUG), to encourage passers-by to sign postcards to send to members of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority.

The passengers are lobbying for the introduction of quality contracts, which will bring buses into public control and end the bus companies’ freedom of picking only profitable routes. Instead the firms will have to bid for contracts handed out by Nexus.

The proposal is bitterly opposed by bus companies. But many users of public transport want it introduced, saying it will make services simpler, cheaper and centrally controlled.

STUG spokesman Helmut Izaks said: “Hopefully it will give more power to the people to decide where buses go instead of the companies having all the power, and it will also prevent companies from withdrawing services early.”

Miss Phillipson said: “Transport is a significant cost to families. A high quality, affordable and accessible public transport system is vital to ease the cost of living for local people and encourage businesses to set up base in Sunderland.

“For over three years I’ve been campaigning for a London-style system of bus regulation in Tyne and Wear. Such a system could see great improvement for many in our community and cheaper fares for the majority of bus users. I’m delighted that Tyne and Wear Transport Users Group also see the benefits of this change.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.twptug.org.uk or email twptug@phonecoop.coop

 

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