The Green vision for public transport

Former Armley & Wortley stationWith just a few days to go before the election, I want to remind you about the Green Party vision for public transport.

Yesterday Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett announced our plan to give local authorities the power to regulate bus services – ending two decades of decline in this most vital of public services. This would help hugely to improve the currently poor and expensive bus services in Leeds.

Greens can deliver a public transport system that people can truly depend on and will encourage people out of their cars, helping to reduce emissions, improve air quality and lower levels of CO2.

British train journeys are the most crowded and expensive in Europe – it’s easy to see why people choose to drive instead.

Almost £4 billion of public money is paid to private railway companies each year in subsidies.

90% of their profits are then handed over to shareholders, instead of being reinvested back into improving services. As I highlighted in a previous post, this investment could mean 9 new stations in Leeds West

Over two-thirds of the British public support renationalisation of the railways.

The Green Party are the only party that has promised to bring the railways back into public hands.

We will create more reliable and affordable services for everyone, starting by immediately cutting public transport fares by 10% to relieve financial pressures for commuters.

If you share our vision, and want a public transport system designed for the people, vote Green on May 7th.

Andrew

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Pointon protests fare rise and calls for public ownership of rail

Andrew Pointon handed out Action For Rail postcards this morning from 7:30am to 9am

Leeds West PPC Andrew Pointon handed out Action For Rail postcards this morning from 7:30am to 9am at Leeds station to protest against rail privatisation and the latest round of above inflation train fare increases.

Today campaigners gathered at over 60 stations throughout the UK, from Southampton to Edinburgh, to protest the passenger fare rise and to call for the railways to be brought into public ownership. Members of rail unions, campaigning groups and others came together as the inflation figure used to calculate the annual rise in regulated rail fares was announced – a wage-busting inflation plus 1 per cent. Andrew Pointon, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Leeds West, joined the protest at Leeds station this morning to hand out postcards to passengers and the passing public.

Since 2008 fares have risen four times faster than average wages. The Green Party is the only political party to match public sentiment and call for the re-nationalisation of the railways and it opposes selling off the publicly run East Coast mainline. This issue is particularly important in Leeds, with East Coast rail bringing in over £1 billion in revenue since 2009 that goes towards funding vital public services like the NHS. Meanwhile, Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and Virgin alone have paid almost £100 million to shareholders while receiving over £1 billion in public subsidy.

Andrew Pointon said:

“As the son of a retired railwayman and someone who has used and loved the railways since childhood, I strongly support this campaign and a completely nationalised rail service. It seems absolutely ludicrous that something that is making money for the common good, provides such a decent service, and is popular with the public might be sold off to companies who need huge sums of our public money to run it for their own profits. We need to keep East Coast in public hands, and nationalise the rest of the rail network as soon as possible. Only the Green party has this commitment, only the Green Party is completely against the continued privatisation of essential public services like the NHS and rail network.”

Protesters outside Leeds station this morning

Protesters outside Leeds station this morning