Today, we have the news that there are to be even greater price increases for bus travel. I don’t know if I speak from a specific regional experience, but in Leeds (and in Sheffield) of late there have been some signficant price increases, already. In Leeds, a day rider has risen from £3.20 to £3.40, whereas the Green Zone is now £12 from £10. Whereas in Sheffield, a day pass is £4.30!
Then, if this isn’t bad enough – we are told that because of the economically illogical cuts, the bus service operators’ grant is set to be cut and that:
This subsidy pays for about 80% of operators’ fuel duty and its removal would increase fares by 6.5%, with a similar reduction in services. The impact would be disproportionately felt outside London.
The vulnerable are set to be hit the most, as people are losing their jobs at a disproportionate rate, benefits are being hit and banks have got/are getting off scott free – it is time to consider the pressing need for nationalisation.
Specifically, this illustrates the need to nationalise key transport services – so the buses and the railway lines (for example). The railways are as bad as the busses, as they are also set to increase their prices, regardless of the fact that their bosses take home ludicrous amounts of bonuses.
Nationalisation should be implemented for key services such as the health, education and banking sectors as well as for key transport services. There will be those on the right who might characterise me a big state Stalinist. But then, why does nationalisation actually need to result in state monopoly? Bus services could be controlled by local authorities, obviously a central coordinator would be required, but the local authorities could work with the buses to set up workers councils so as to provide more power over the services, as well as providing a more stable fairer transport system. Then cooperatives and mutual organisational forms can be looked into for providing the railway lines too. Nationalisation does not automatically equate to state dominance, it can provide real democracy.
Also, there is an environmental point here. If the government is supposedly the “greenest” government ever (which it isn’t) then the nationalisation of transport should be something they should be seriously considering- as it makes no sense that prices keep increasing for services that help us become more environmentally friendly. Better transport is key to reducing the heavy reliance we have on cars. And whilst it might be using fuel etc, it would reduce the overall consumption.
With rising prices set to increase inflation whilst people’s wages are being slashed and jobs are falling by the second – then nationalisation of core sectors seems one of the few viable options left for this government to achieve some credibility.