Nearly six out of ten people think councils should be allowed to run their own bus services, despite government attempts to ban them from doing so.
A new poll, conducted by campaign group We Own I,t found 57% of the general public agree that local authorities should be allowed to set up new public bus companies, with only 22% not agreeing they should have this power.
However, a clause in the new Bus Services Bill would ban councils in England from running their own bus services.
Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: ‘The government plan to ban councils from setting up their own bus companies is completely ideological. Councils should be allowed to run buses directly if that’s the best solution.
‘After nearly 30 years of deregulation, bus privatisation has led to falling passenger numbers, service cuts and huge fare increases in most areas outside of London. It’s time for buses to work for people not profit.’
The poll also showed that 46% of people want more public ownership of buses, compared to 11% who want more private ownership.
Research from Research from Transport for Quality of Life suggests £506m a year could be saved from buses outside London by bringing them into public ownership. There are already 12 local authority-owned bus companies across the UK.