Matt Taylor, the Prospective Member of Parliament (PMP) for Brighton Kemptown in 2015, backs Nancy Platts call on Brighton and Hove’s buses to offer free travel for a day, but says her call “doesn’t go far enough.”
He says, “Free bus travel should be life, not just for christmas.”
Nancy Platts gave an assured interview on BBC Sunday Politics Show, where she said “Many people who don’t have a car are also on low incomes so I am calling on Brighton and Hove Buses to give them an early Christmas present too by offering free bus travel on the same day as drivers get free parking.”
In answer, the Managing Director, Martin Harris from Brighton and Hove Buses implies they are open for negotiation saying, “We were very interested to hear Nancy Platts suggestion on the Politics Show on Sunday that the days on which some free parking has been made available for Christmas shoppers should also become days in which bus travel should be free.
I am very willing to listen to new ideas about helping boost the city’s economy. I am looking forward to meeting with Nancy to hear more about her ideas on this and other transport related matters.”
Though whether Nancy Platts call comes to anything is yet to be seen, evident by Martin Harris justification to continue charging with, “To keep the Christmas parking offer in context, the services we provide on the same days will provide many more spaces for shoppers than do those car parks and our current plans are focused on the provision of additional resources to increase seating capacity and improve on street management of the service to make it as good as possible for shoppers. At the same time we must recognise that the needs of those using the services to travel to work and for other essential purposes do not disappear during the Christmas shopping period.”
The Ghettoisation of Brighton.
Matt Taylor, Nancy Platts main rival to be elected MP for Brighton Kemptown, says her call “doesn’t go far enough” and warns of “ghettoisation if bus prices aren’t lowered.”
Branded as “Astronomical” by Hove’s MP Mike Weatherly, Brighton & Hove Buses raised their prices an inflation busting 11.5%, in April 2013.
- SHORT HOP £1.50 to £1.60 (6.75% increase)
- CENTREFARE £2 (no change)
- SINGLE £2.20 to £2.30 (4.5%)
- ONE-DAY SAVER (smartcard) £3.50 to £3.90 (11.4%)
- CITYSAVER £4.40 to £4.60 (4.5%)
- ADVANCE TICKET PRICES One-day valid until 4am next day £3.50 m-ticket £3.90 key smartcard £4.40 scratch-off tickets
- NEW Two-day – £6 (m-ticket only)
- NEW Three-day – £9 (m-ticket only)
- SEVEN DAYS £15 m-ticket £17.50 key smartcard £22 scratch-off tickets
- 28 DAYS £65 m-ticket £65 key smartcard £75 scratch-off tickets
- 90 DAYS £160 (m-ticket and smartcard) 12 months £490 (smartcard only)
Prices are too high.
Matt Taylor warns, “Bus fares are way too high for Brighton residents. People on benefits who make up the majority of Brighton Kemptown constituents simply can’t afford £4.60 a day to get into town and back. Slowly but surely ghettos will grow in which residents are confined to certain areas, forming sub-cultures based on their financial restraints of not being able to travel.”
Brighton and Hove Buses claim to have no choice but to introduce these inflation-busting increase in response to rising fuel and insurance costs.
Critics say rising fuel is the fault of higher taxes imposed by government and that the insurance industry are guilty of fraud as much as their cousins in the banking industry, and point out the consumer is once again left picking up the bill of greedy corporations.
With passenger numbers breaking the 50 million mark per year and boasting a healthy profit of £5.8 million in 2011/12, Brighton and Hove Buses have an up-hill PR battle to convince their customers they aren’t taking advantage of their monopoly on Brighton’s travel.
Perhaps we should consider nationalising Brighton and Hove buses?
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “It’s a really difficult balance and the only way to change that would be to have some form of public ownership and subsidy.”
Matt Taylor is standing as an independent candidate in the Brighton Kemptown 2015 election and welcomes anyone to leave comments and ask any questions they may have.