1 December 2017
Kent County Council’s proposal to cut its support for “socially necessary” bus services is a backward and shortsighted step. We appreciate the financial difficulties the authority faces but then this Tory controlled council really only has itself to blame for its difficulties as the majority of its member support the government’s failed austerity agenda which is forcing millions of ordinary people and, indeed, the most vulnerable in our society, to pay for the greed and economic mismanagement of a wealthy few.
We say, those who benefitted most from the good times and who caused the economic meltdown should pay for the damage they have caused, not people who depend on an already poor and overpriced bus service.
In addition, by cutting the number of services, KCC will help to increase traffic congestion and further reduce the quality of our air which is already polluted and, in many places, is well below the minimum standard resulting in an estimated 40,000 premature deaths per year across the UK as a whole.
These cuts will have a disproportionate impact on the sick (as buses serving hospitals will be cut), the elderly, many of whom, especially the poorest, do not have access to a car and school children as 14 school bus services are up for the chop.
What’s more, these cuts will exacerbate social isolation and deprive many people of the right to travel. Twenty percent of households in Kent do not have a car or van and so rely on public transport.
With the county’s population on the increase, the pressure on our road infrastructure is already close to breaking point and simply cannot take more traffic. Therefore, we need positive measures to give people a real and affordable alternative to travel by car. We need to build a sustainable and accessible public transport system fit for the 21st century, but once again KCC is making a wrong turn.
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